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Does Cooking Wine Go Bad? FAQ + Tips ๐Ÿพ

Did you just discover an open bottle of cooking wine in your fridge and now you’re wondering: Does cooking wine go bad?

Well, yes! Like all wines, cooking wine goes bad whether it’s sitting on the shelf unopened for a long time or opened and in your fridge for just a few days. 

While it may seem that cooking wine could sit around indefinitely like vinegar can, it’s not true. 

Cooking wine is not a condiment like vinegar is.

Cooking wine is a wine made explicitly for cooking rather than drinking.

You may have tasted different dishes that use cooking wine, made with robust flavors, like glazed T-bone and the famous red wine chocolate chicken.

Have you liked them?

Well, if not, you can experiment more with it. 

Just be careful because it has a higher salt content, though. It is from lower-quality grapes. (Wine Spectator, July 2020)

Cooking wine can be used in various dishes, such as marinades, sauces, and stews, to add depth of flavor and complexity.

It can be a deglazing liquid, which helps release flavorful bits of food stuck to the bottom of a pan after cooking.

Sound interesting?

But as you read on, it is vital to know if the wine is bad or expired before you use it in a recipe.

We will give you everything you need to know about storage and tips and help you learn more about cooking wine.

Want a couple of red wine vinegar substitutes?

Based on alcohol content alone, cooking wine has more alcohol in it than “regular” wines.

Cooking wine has about 16% ABV (alcohol by volume), with the normal drinking variety of red wines generally coming in at 12 to 15% ABV; many white wines averaging 13%.

While the cooking world may differentiate between “drinking wine” and “cooking wine,” many chefs and home cooks add “drinking wine” to their recipes. 

You can find bottles labeled as “red cooking wine” “white cooking wine” and “sherry cooking wine” on grocer’s shelves. Interestingly, the few I found didn’t say they had an alcohol content. 

Ask MasterClass, and they say that red wine is a crucial ingredient to tenderize meats and deglaze the pan.

Understanding the shelf life of cooking wine

Cooking wine, like any other alcoholic beverage, has a shelf life. 

According to Healthline, when you open a bottle of wine, the shelf life of cooking wine is shorter than regular wine because of the salt content, which helps preserve the wine.

Cooking wine is typically safe to consume for up to one year after the bottling date, but it’s essential to check the expiration date on the bottle before using it.

It can be affected by light, heat, and air exposure. 

So, storing it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and at a consistent temperature is essential.

Understanding the shelf life of cooking wine is vital to ensure that the wine you’re using is still safe to consume and will not affect the taste of your food.

It’s always a good idea to check the expiration date and to store it properly to extend its shelf life.

How to tell if cooking wine has gone bad

Cooking wine, like any other alcoholic beverage, has a shelf life. It’s important to know if it has gone bad.

In a blog post from JJ Buckley Fine Wines, a wine company, here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Sour smell: If the wine has a rotten smell, it’s a sign that it has gone bad. It is by bacteria that have grown in the wine.
  • Change in color: If the wine has changed color, for example, red wine has turned brown or white wine has turned yellow, it’s a sign that the wine has gone bad.
  • Cloudy appearance: If the wine is hazy, it’s a sign that it has started to spoil.
  • Sediment: If the wine has sediment on the bottom, it’s a sign that it has gone bad.
  • Taste: If the wine has a bitter or sour taste, it’s a sign that it has gone bad. When wine “turns,” it often smells and tastes like vinegar—sharp and musty.

Suppose any of these signs about your cooking wine are true. It may not be safe or pleasant to eat foods made with bad cooking wine.

How long does cooking wine last?

The shelf life of cooking wine can vary depending on several factors, including the type of wine, the storage conditions, and whether or not the bottle is open.

Unopened bottles of cooking wine can last for several years, depending on the type of wine and how you store it.

It’s a good idea to transfer the wine to a smaller bottle or container, as this will reduce the amount of air in the bottle and slow the oxidation process.

How long does opened cooking wine last?

According to Wine Spectator, once a bottle of cooking wine is opened, you should use it within a few months.

The reason for this is that air can cause the wine to oxidize, which can change the flavor and make it less suitable for cooking.

It’s important to note that cooking wine is not intended for consumption on its own, and its primary purpose is to enhance the flavors in a dish.

However, if you’re not using it frequently, it’s best to store it in a cool, dark place and to keep the bottle tightly sealed to minimize the amount of air that comes into contact with the wine.

Pro Tip: You can add some vinegar or lemon juice to the open bottle to help preserve it, but it’s best to use it within a few months.

From wine experts, 1:1 is the measurement of adding acidity in prolonging the shelf life of a cooking wine.

It’s always a good practice to check the aroma and the taste before using the cooking wine. If it smells bad or tastes sour, it’s best to discard it.

Cooking wine smells bad how? Discard your cooking wine if:
• Does it smell like vinegar?
• Does it smell yeasty or like mold?
• Does it have no smell at all, as if the fresh smell of wine is gone?

Use your best judgment. If it doesn’t smell as good as when you first opened it, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Should cooking wine be kept in the fridge after opening?

Keep cooking wine chilled in the fridge after you’ve opened it. 

Cooking wine is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but the question of whether you should keep it in the refrigerator after opening it is a common one.

While it is not necessary to refrigerate cooking wine after opening, it can help prolong its shelf life.

The main reason is that refrigeration slows down the oxidation process, which can cause the wine to become rancid over time.

Unopened wine, if refrigerated, can help prevent the growth of bacteria, which can also affect the flavor and quality of the wine.

If the wine bottle is open, it is essential to note that refrigeration can also cause the wine to thicken and lose some of its flavor and aroma.

It’s probably best to keep the cooking wine at room temperature if you plan to use it within a week or two.

But if you don’t plan to use it for a longer time, sealing it in an airtight container can help it to live longer.

What are the effects of cooking wine on the taste of your food?

Cooking wine can add a lot of depth and complexity to the flavors of a dish.

Amazing, right? Wine is so universal.

The type of cooking wine varies depending on the dish you are preparing.

Red wine will give a rich and robust flavor to meat dishes, while white wine can be a great addition to light and delicate fish or chicken.

You can use sherry to add a nutty and slightly sweet flavor to dishes like soups and sauces.

Understanding what flavors cooking wine can give to your dish will make a big difference.

How to store cooking wine

Storing cooking wine is essential to maintain its quality and flavor for as long as possible.

The first step in storing cooking wine is to keep it in a cool, dark place, away from light and heat sources.

It helps slow the oxidation process, which can cause the wine to become rancid over time.

Additionally, it is essential to keep the bottle tightly sealed and upright to prevent air from getting in, which can also cause the wine to spoil.

Another vital factor to consider is the temperature in storing the wine: While refrigeration can help prolong the shelf life of cooking wine, it is not necessary.

Storage for unopened cooking wine in a wine refrigerator is ideal, with the bottle resting flat at 53–57 °F and 60–70% humidity for a period of 1–2 years. 

Cooking wine, once opened, should be kept upright with a wine stopper in the kitchen refrigerator for up to 30 days.

According to a winemaker, when you are going to use it for cooking, any temperature is okay.

How to store opened cooking wine

It’s crucial to store opened cooking wine properly if you want it to keep its quality and flavor for as long as possible.

The first thing you need to do to hold opened cooking wine is to put it in a cool, dark place away from sources of light and heat.

It slows down the process of oxidation, which can make the wine taste bad over time. 

Also, it’s essential to keep the bottle upright and tightly closed so that air doesn’t get in. Air can also cause the wine to go bad.

When storing cooking wine that has already been opened, it’s best to put it in a smaller, airtight container, like a wine bottle stopper or a mason jar. 

It will reduce the amount of air that touches the wine and slow down the process of oxidation. 

It’s also a good idea to write the date you opened the container on it so you can remember when you opened it and when it needs to be consumed.

The temperature at which the wine is kept is another essential thing to think about. Even though cooking wine that has been opened can last longer if it is kept in the fridge, it is unnecessary.

But if you’re not going to use the opened cooking wine within a week or two, you should put it in the fridge.

It’s important to remember that putting wine in the fridge can make it thicken and lose some flavor and aroma, so it’s best to let the wine come to room temperature before using it in cooking.

Can I use expired cooking wine?

Like other types of wine, cooking can expire and lose its quality over time. 

The expiration date on the bottle indicates when the wine is at its peak quality and should be consumed.

Using expired cooking wine can decrease flavor and aroma, and in some cases, it could even be harmful to consume.

When determining if a cooking wine has expired, it’s essential to check the expiration date on the bottle. 

Most cooking wines have a shelf life of about 1-2 years, and it’s best to use them before expiration.

How is cooking wine made?

According to winespectator, cooking wine begins with the grapes being harvested and crushed to release the juice. 

The juice is then fermented with yeast to convert the sugar into alcohol.

A typical process of making wine, correct? 

But do you know it has a high salt content? It does help to preserve the wine and makes it more stable for cooking.

After fermentation, the wine is aged for a short time, usually no more than a few months.

It’s worth noting that cooking wine is not as complex as making regular wine.

Cooking wine is made quickly and cheaply to meet the demand for a cheaper, easier-to-use cooking option.

Drinking wine is meant to be savored and appreciated on its own, allowing the drinker to experience the wine’s unique bouquet, taste, and finish. 

On the other hand, using wine to enhance the flavor of food is meant to complement and elevate the overall taste of the dish. 

The wine’s acidity and tannins interact with the food, bringing out new and unexpected flavors and aromas. 

The goal is not to overpower the dish, but to add an extra dimension of taste and complexity to it.

Both experiences can be enjoyable and satisfying, but the key difference is in the intention and purpose behind consuming wine and using it in cooking.

The importance of checking the expiration date on cooking wine before use

Checking the expiration date on cooking wine before use is essential to ensure that the wine is still of good quality and safe to consume.

Cooking wine can go bad and lose its quality over time, just like other types of wine. On the bottle, there is a date that says when the wine is at its best and should be drunk. 

Using expired cooking wine can decrease flavor and aroma; in some cases, it could even be harmful to consume.

Neglecting to check the expiration date on cooking wine can also affect the taste and quality of the dish you’re preparing.

If the wine is expired, it can lead to a dish lacking flavor and aroma, which can disappoint you and your guests.

Give it a whiff, then it’s always a good practice to check the expiration date before using any cooking wine to ensure that it’s still fresh and safe to consume.

In summary, checking the expiration date on cooking wine before use is crucial to ensure that the wine is still of good quality and safe to consume.

It helps to maintain the overall taste and quality of the dish you’re preparing.

If the cooking wine is past its expiration date, it’s best to discard it.

The bottom line

Cooking wine does go bad over time. The expiration date on the bottle indicates when the wine is at its peak quality.

The shelf life of unused, unopened cooking wine is about 1-2 years, and it’s essential to store it in a cool, dark place to slow down the oxidation process and prevent the growth of bacteria.

Proper storage and checking the expiration date are essential to ensure that the cooking wine is still of good quality and safe to consume.

Here’s a good substitute for white wine in cooking