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How to make vinegar from wine, yes, really

Ahem, I’m not really sure how to express how wonder-filled I find this vinegar-making business, but I feel like a unicorn just farted. Although, I am easily bedazzled.

This post is meant to be a part of our building a beautiful life series and it kind of still is. If you’re curious, the previous cost cutting post is a good place to start on this whole adventure.How to make vinegar | Blah Blah Magazine

One of the little ironies I’m discovering on this adventure is the number of times cutting costs improves our quality of life. Sometimes, I stumble on something that is even easier and better than a bought one. How to make vinegar is one of those, my friends. The vinegar you make with wine you’re prepared to drink will be far tastier drop.

I realise the process of making vinegar sounds weird. I know, because when I first read about it in Matthew Evans’ The Gourmet Farmer it all sounded too easy to be true. What do you mean you just pour wine dregs in and vinegar comes out? It sounded like something better left to unicorns, but then I read about it in Save with Jamie and Sandor Katz’s Art of Fermentation and thought I’d better get my unicorn saddle out and give it a whirl.

Yup, it’s easy. Seriously, the only difficult part is finding a container, but even that I managed to make more difficult for myself than it needed to be.

Choosing a container

In an ideal world filled with freshly plucked flower petals, you need to use a vinegar crock, but really any glass or ceramic jar that doesn’t have a metal lid is fine.

Vinegar doesn’t like metal and metal doesn’t like vinegar, they have a mutual loathing. From what I understand vinegar corrodes metal and the metal kills the vinegar’s mother. Yes, it’s all a bit Shakespearean sounding.

I could’ve of used one of these jars (without the rubber seals), because the vinegar and metal don’t have to touch each other, but that didn’t occur to me…

How to make vinegar | Blah Blah MagazineInstead, I used a pretty Japanese container (I blame Pinterest), but it had a fatal flaw. A leetle hole in the lid. This provided an excellent launch pad for the fruit fly to kamikaze through. See that little hole in the lid…How to make vinegar | Blah Blah Magazine

Okay, so make that any glass or ceramic jar that doesn’t have a metal lid and definitely, no holes.

Beating the fruit fly

This brings me to the next discovery – fruit flies are bandits for vinegar. In summer, I keep the vinegar in a cupboard, behind closed doors, with a bag over it, if need be. Another way to do it is to make vinegar during the winter and bottle it all up for the summer months.

The mother of all vinegars

Like all good things in this world, vinegar has a mother and that mother is the weird cloudy, gritty looking thing at the bottom of the bottle (sounds like another mother I know…) Despite haggard appearances this is the goodness.

To start a vinegar you will need an unpasteurised apple cider vinegar and when you get down to the last quarter of the bottle with all that cloudy, gritty, mothery goodness, you are ready to start.How to make vinegar | Blah Blah Magazine

Leftover wine, what’s that?

And for those of you wondering if you’ll ever have left over wine, you might be surprised. I didn’t think we ever did, but it turns out those little dregs at the bottom of a bottle can amount to quite a lot of vinegar over the year. Although, I confess our white wine and apple cider vinegar production is a lot slower, because it doesn’t have the same amount of dregs… Well, that’s the story I’m sticking to.

This recipe is a combination of Matthew Evans’ The Gourmet Farmer, Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie and Sandor Katz’s Art of Fermentation all of which I would recommend anyone interested in this stuff.

The recipe is for red wine vinegar, but I used the same process to make the white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

How to make vinegar
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Ingredients
  1. Glass or ceramic jar or bottle with a non-metal lid and no holes
  2. Last quarter of a bottle of unpasteurised apple cider vinegar
  3. Half a bottle of leftover red wine
Instructions
  1. Pour the vinegar and wine into the jar together, leave alone for three or so weeks and the vinegar will be ready to use.
  2. Pour or scoop vinegar out with a non-metal spoon and use.
  3. Continue to top up with wine. At this point, we continue to use the vinegar after topping up, but the alcohol may not have fermented by then, so this is something you’ll need to consider.
  4. Bottle up excess with a pretty tag and give to unsuspecting guests.
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Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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31 comments

  1. You and your recipes never cease to amaze me Bele! I never thought of making my own vinegar. Finding half a bottle of leftover red wine might be tough now the weather is getting chilly. We’re more likely to have leftover white in the fridge! Your unsuspecting guests are a lucky bunch xx

  2. Gosh I love this! What a clever idea. And kinda sorta heathy too because if I didn’t think I was wasting that last bit of wine I would probably sometimes top one glass earlier 🙂
    PS. I would love you to link this up to our wine linkup – recipes and the like are completely relevant

  3. I love this! Definitely going to be trying this on the weekend – thanks lovely!!

  4. What is “leftover wine”? I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered it 😉

  5. I had no idea that making vinegar was that easy! You’re just a genius! I might have to try this next time I have “leftover” wine…

  6. I’m also amazed at how easy it is to make wine vinegar, this is such a great little diy! Now I just need to find left over wine in my house, which might be the trickiest part of this exercise…

  7. I honestly never even considered making my own vinegar – you are just too clever! I love the gourmet farmer, so if he says it’s good, it must be good. 🙂

  8. Red in one hand, saddle in the other, never mind the vinegar, where do I get me a unicorn!

  9. How awesome I did not realise how easy it is to make your own vinegar, can’t wait to test your recipe out, I think I’ll start with a reed wine one. Thanks for joining in with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays fun. Have a gorgeous long weekend xx

  10. Hmmmm…. yes, what is this ‘leftover wine’ you speak of? Actually I think I’ve got half a bottle of an Aldi $5 special buy pinot that I couldn’t face, will give this a go on the weekend 🙂

  11. It would take me forever to get enough leftovers to make this a thing. And do you know what’s crazy? I was thinking “vinegar from WINE? What tha?” And then realised that the vinegars in my pantry are called ” white wine” and “red wine” vinegar. Der. It never ceases to a,are me what escapes my attention…

  12. Ah this is brilliant, I just recently bought some proper apple cider vinegar and was thinking I must be able to make more with the floating beast in the bottom – thanks!

  13. Dang it, Bele, you are one smart cookie!

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