Does red wine vinegar go bad?

An absolute staple in any home cook’s pantry, red wine vinegar is an ingredient with endless possibilities. Along with many household uses like killing weeds and getting rid of pesky fruit flies, red wine vinegar adds a magical touch to almost any dish. It is made by fermenting red wine with a starter culture and acidic bacteria until it sours. During the fermentation process, the alcohol in red wine turns into acetic acid, which is the main component of vinegar.

We realize that acid-forming bacteria doesn’t exactly sound appetizing, but before you turn your nose up at this process, you should know that many of the delicious foods we regularly enjoy have gone through this exact process – yogurt, sourdough bread, miso and perhaps most importantly, the beer! And this is only the smallest list of examples.

Besides being delicious, you might be surprised to learn that the amount of health benefits of fermented foods is staggering. Fermented foods have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, according to the Heart Foundation. So maybe buy a bottle or two of red wine vinegar the next time you go to the store. And a 12-pack of brewskies, of course.

Uses of Red Wine Vinegar

The list of culinary uses for red wine vinegar is immense. This energetic ingredient gives an acidic shine to everything from deviled eggs to fish and chips. Splash it over a salad with olive oil for a simple and classic dressing. Spoon some on your roast beef sandwich for a little extra bite. Finish a sauce or soup with a few drops for an extra tangy note that will give a gourmet touch to your dish.

Red wine vinegar is also a wonderful ingredient in a marinade, as its high acidity content tenderizes meat beautifully. If you’re a fan of pickled foods, you can use red wine vinegar to make your own pickled treats, like beets or shallots. You can do a quick stovetop pickle with just a few ingredients and about 30 minutes.

Marinated shallots recipe

Marinated shallots
Culinary Hill/Facebook

This pickled shallots recipe is from Culinary Hill, and these shallots are wonderful on sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Toss them into a salad or use them to garnish a baguette. You’ll never run out of uses for these brackish beauties.


  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 Chopped off Red wine vinegar
  • 4 soup spoons Granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch sother (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the shallots.

  2. Cover and let cool completely for about 30 minutes.
  3. Store in brine in an airtight container for up to one week.

How long can you store red wine vinegar?

Vinegar Wine Barrel

Although refrigeration is not necessary, red wine vinegar should be stored in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard or pantry, to preserve product quality. Also, it should always be stored in a glass container, as oxygen can seep through plastic and other materials, compromising the integrity of the vinegar. Oxygen will accelerate the aging of vinegar and should therefore be avoided as much as possible.

Opening your bottle only when in use and keeping a tightly closed lid in place will greatly preserve the life of the vinegar. Stored under these conditions, a bottle of red wine vinegar can last up to a few years. Now that’s quite a lifetime.

Should you ever throw it away?

Vinegar bottles

Due to its high acid content, pathogenic bacteria cannot survive in vinegar. Therefore, it cannot go wrong. However, it can lose quality over time. It may become cloudy or develop lumps of floating solids. Not very appetizing. Although these solids are harmless, they can be unpleasant to see and you can filter them out.

In a bottle that has been in the pantry a little too long, you may notice discoloration or changes in the smell, texture, and flavor of the vinegar. So while red wine vinegar won’t expire to the point where it will be harmful to consume, it’s probably best to get a fresh bottle if these signs start to appear.

Recipe for chicken in red wine vinegar sauce

Chicken in red vinegar
Home cooking

This French Chicken is a beautifully flavorful and easy meal that tastes like it took all day to prepare. Serve it with lots of crusty bread to soak up all the amazing sauce. Here is a recipe from Family Style Food.


  • 6-8 chicken thighs with bone and skin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 soup spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Chopped off dry white wine
  • 1/4 Chopped off Red wine vinegar
  • 3 soup spoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/4 Chopped off water or chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Put the chicken thighs on a baking sheet or baking dish. Sprinkle the salt on both sides of the chicken. Refrigerate, skin side up and uncovered up to 24 hours in advance.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Heat a large skillet with at least 2-inch sides over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the skillet and when it simmers, add the chicken, skin side down. Cook undisturbed for 10 minutes, being careful that the pan does not get too hot and adjusting the heat accordingly, until the skin is a rich golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  4. Pour all but about a teaspoon of fat into the pan and stir in the shallot and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds then pour in the white wine and vinegar, scraping the pan to remove any brown bits. Add tomato paste, mustard, thyme, bay leaves and broth. Bring to a boil then return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.

  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 25 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the chicken is cooked through.

  6. Sprinkle the chili over the chicken, if using, then remove the bay leaves. Serve hot with drizzled cooking juices.

Whether it’s the star of your cooking show or just a cheeky accompaniment to whatever dish you’re making, red wine vinegar is a must-have for every home cook. We love it for its tangy audacity, for its versatility and for its ability to stand the test of time… after being neglected for too long at the back of the pantry. So dust off that bottle – it’s probably still perfect and brighten up whatever you’re cooking with a twist or two.

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