How to Make Your Own Red Wine Vinegar (2024)

Add vinegar to the list of things you ought to be making yourself. Once you've got that trick down, you'll be using it in dishes that go way beyond salad.

February, the month of romance, is all about chocolate and Champagne. Would it be wrong then, for us to wax poetic about our long love of vinegar?

A good wine vinegar is hard to find. The kind in grocery stores can be too acidic. Specialty food shops carry fancy balsamic and flavored vinegars, but often there is no top-shelf red wine variety to be found. So we make our own, for the fun and satisfaction of it, and because we love its sparkling, fresh flavor.

We got started when a friend gave each of us a piece of "mother," which resembles the Absent-Minded Professor's flubber, a blob floating in jars with a little wine and water. It's this mother, the live starter, that transforms wine into vinegar (acetic acid) through alcoholic fermentation and bacterial activity, with an assist from good old oxygen.

We swapped out the canning jars for gallon crocks draped with cheesecloth, which allows air in but blocks out light. Then, with a flourish, we poured a bottle of 2007 Meredith Estate Pinot Noir into each. The more delicious and aromatic the wine, the finer the vinegar, so whatever we're drinking, we share a glass with our fermenting vinegar.

There's not much to do besides adding more wine every so often. Then just wait for the vinegar to mellow as it matures over the next couple of months. Aged red wine vinegar has a tawny reddish color, a clean but sharp aroma, and a subtly intense flavor.

So, how do we use it? Of course we make a classic vinaigrette with shallot, S&P, and sometimes a teaspoon of Dijon. Like Southern cooks, we add a little vinegar to our braised greens. In the recipes that follow, we stir spoonfuls into butter to dress wilted spinach (it cuts the slightly bitter taste spinach can have). And we braise chicken in vinegar the way they do in Lyon, with a handful of currants to sweeten the sour.

Making vinegar reminds us of a love affair. As in all great romances, you must pay attention to its needs, take care of it, and have patience as it ages and transforms into something beautiful.**

Your Very Own Vinegar
Vinegar-Braised Chicken and Onions
Buttered Spinach with Vinegar

See more from the Seasonal Cooks

How to Make Your Own Red Wine Vinegar (2024)


Can I mix red wine and vinegar to make red wine vinegar? ›

The easiest way to make red wine vinegar (or simply red vinegar) at home is to mix red wine with raw, unpasteurized vinegar. The process uses the wine's residual sugars to aid in the fermentation process.

How to make wine vinegar at home? ›

The easiest way to make your own wine vinegar is to leave an open, 3/4-full bottle of wine in a warm place for a couple of weeks. It's really that simple—the natural oxidation process will do all of the work. The only issue you may encounter is fruit flies.

What are the ingredients in red wine vinegar? ›

To make red wine vinegar, you need a “mother,” or a live starter substance. The mother is added to a mixture of red wine and water in a glass container, where it works with oxygen to transform the wine into vinegar by alcoholic fermentation.

Can I use apple cider vinegar mother to make red wine vinegar? ›

You can create a vinegar mother in one type of alcohol and then use it to turn other types of alcohol into vinegar. (For instance, an apple cider vinegar mother will turn a red wine into red wine vinegar with no problems, and vice versa.)

What can I use if I don't have red wine vinegar? ›

The 8 Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes
  • Balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is a common pantry staple in many households. ...
  • White vinegar mixed with red wine. ...
  • Sherry vinegar. ...
  • White wine vinegar. ...
  • Rice vinegar. ...
  • Apple cider vinegar. ...
  • Tamarind paste. ...
  • Raspberry vinegar.
Aug 23, 2021

How long does it take to make red wine vinegar? ›

You should begin to smell vinegar after a few weeks, and can taste it every week or so to monitor the fermentation. After about 2 months, when the alcohol has acidified, or when a taste of the vinegar makes your mouth pucker, it's ready to strain and bottle.

How to make red wine vinegar without a mother? ›

Place the wine in a large mouth jar or bottle, cover the top with cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band. Leave it in a warm place, I put it at the back of my counter for 2 weeks. That's it. The natural oxidation process will turn the wine into vinegar for you!

What does red wine vinegar do to your body? ›

Red wine vinegar has a number of benefits, including lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. As it's derived from red wine, it also boasts a number of antioxidants. Drinking or using this vinegar in moderation is safe but could be harmful if taken in excess or alongside certain medications.

How to make vinegar from scratch? ›

  1. Strain mash.
  2. Heat liquid to kill yeasts.
  3. Cool and back slop with 20% unpasteurized vinegar or a mother of vinegar.
  4. Cover jar with cheesecloth.
  5. Leave for 2-3 months until flavor has mellowed.
  6. Test titration to ensure minimum 4% acidity.
  7. Strain again, bottle and store.
Jul 31, 2020

Why was Jesus offered vinegar? ›

Luke 23:36–37 mentions that the attendant soldiers offer Jesus vinegar while mocking him – moving the mocking motif that occurs earlier in Mark and Matthew to the Crucifixion.

How to make homemade red wine? ›

Thoroughly mash fruit, add four crushed Campden tablets, cover with cheesecloth and allow container to stand four hours at room temperature. Add 10 cups sugar syrup, lemon juice, tea and yeast and allow seven days to ferment at a temperature between 60-70º F, stirring thoroughly twice daily.

What is the difference between wine vinegar and red wine vinegar? ›

Red wine vinegar will be stronger, with brighter notes, and bolder than white wine vinegar. You'll want to use the red in dishes that require added zip and you need something to stand up to robust flavours: think salads where you're adding cheese or creamy elements, marinades for red meat and bean or lentil dishes.

How do you make red wine vinegar from mother? ›

  1. Pour the wine into a clean jar and stir for a couple of minutes to help remove sulfites. (See Note.)
  2. Add the water and the mother of vinegar (MOV). ...
  3. Place on the counter or another warm spot (75° to 86°F).
  4. After about a month, taste the vinegar. ...
  5. Fill a clean, narrow-neck bottle with vinegar close to the top.
Jul 22, 2021

What is the mother in red wine vinegar? ›

A vinegar mother is a gelatinous disc that looks like a slice of wobbly raw liver. It's composed of a form of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria (mycoderma aceti) that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, and turns alcohol into acetic acid with a little help from some oxygen in the air.

Does wine lose alcohol when it turns to vinegar? ›

The process of wine turning into vinegar is actually a natural one and results from the action of acetic acid bacteria. These bacteria consume the alcohol in the wine and convert it into acetic acid, resulting in vinegar.

How to make red wine vinegar with leftover red wine? ›

Stir together wine and vinegar in a 2-cup glass jar. Cover jar with a double layer of cheesecloth; wrap a rubber band around the rim to secure. Store in a dark place at room temperature until mixture no longer tastes like raw alcohol, about 8 weeks. (It's OK if sediment forms on surface of liquid or sides of jar.)

Is red wine vinegar red wine and vinegar? ›

Red wine vinegar is made by fermenting red wine with a starter culture and acidic bacteria until it sours. During fermentation, the alcohol in red wine is converted into acetic acid — the main component of vinegar ( 1 ). Red wine vinegar is a whiz in the kitchen.

Is red wine vinegar the same as red wine and vinegar? ›

What is It? Both red wine and red wine vinegar are made from red grapes, but red wine vinegar is made from red wine that has been allowed to sour. The sugars in red wine turn to acetic acid, which gives vinegar its characteristic biting flavor.


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