Eliminate Wine Waste in 2017

Posted December 28, 2016

Stacy Brody


Daily wine deals emailed to your inbox.

New Year's Resolution #1: Try new wines

New Year's Resolution #2: Eliminate wine waste

Much hard work and craftsmanship, not to mention natural resources, go into making that bottle (or box) of wine you just tried. There is no need to pour all that labor and money down the drain. In 2017, resolve to save every last drop of wine, whether you're pouring it into your glass, baking bread or making jelly. 

So, what do you do with all that leftover wine?

Make bread


My boyfriend was getting tired of the accumulating open yet unfinished bottles. He came across this recipe and was like, hey, you need to make this.

The bottle situation was pretty bad, so I gave this bread a shot. The beauty about this recipe is that it’s not all that hard to make. There’s no kneading involved. Just mix the ingredients, let it rise for half an hour, then bake.  

I’ve made this bread with a Chardonnay and a medium-bodied red blend. Both were delicious. This bread makes great crostini. Slice it, toast it, and serve it with appropriately paired cheese. You can wash it down with a freshly opened bottle.

Make a sauce


I first encountered the delightful ease and deliciousness of wine sauces when making chicken piccata (I use seitan, but it’s the same idea). The sauce was simple to make, yet delicious. Recipes typically call for only a few ingredients: wine, flour and butter, whatever spices or herbs you prefer, and lemon.

Note: Wine sauce recipes often use the term “deglaze.” Use a liquid, like wine, to capture the flavors in a pan previously used for cooking meat, vegetables, etc. Remove whatever it is you’re cooking and, with the stove still on, pour in the wine to pick up all those savory bits. Use butter and flour to thicken and add flavor. Reduce to desired thickness. Bon appetit!

Make a syrup...


All you need for this is wine, sugar, and time. Mix wine and sugar, or your preferred sweetener, in a pot. Cook over the stove. Reduce to desired thickness.

Try adding fresh fruit purees, like blackberries with Merlot! I tried this combo with leftover wine from a family party. Perfect over everything from pancakes to ice cream.

This is the time of year to play with dried fruits, like figs and dates. Let me know if you try anything with these delights @WineLib_StacyB

...or jelly


Jelly may sound intimidating, and the thought of canning may be daunting.

Don’t be scared. In the fridge, wine jelly lasts 2 months - even without processing for long-term storage. You need wine, lots of sugar, lemon juice, pectin, and a small bit of butter. When I made my most recent batch, I used half a bottle of Zweigelt and half a bottle of Monastrell. After 12 hours in the frdige, the jelly was ready to put on toast at breakast the next morning. In the form of jelly, wine consumption is socially acceptable at breakfast, agree or disagree?

Wine jelly is a great accompaniment for Italian cheeses like Piave, Parmesan, Brenta, and Robiolo.

Bake with it


Haven’t you come across mouthwateringly delicious-looking food porn of red wine chocolate cake? It’s time to try out some recipes. Be sure to share your results.  

Have a fondue night


This works better for white wine than for red (how would that look in your fondue bowl?). Classic fondue cheeses include Emmenthaler, Gruyere, and Raclette.

Use it in place of vinegar


I asked Joe Salonia from Gourmino Swiss Cheeses what he does with leftover wine, besides fondue (see above). He had a number of deliciously intriguing ideas. His simplest and most versatile recommendation: reduce it to use in vinaigrettes and to add character to mustards.

Now you have no excuse for pouring innocent wine down the drain! We've helped with resolution #2. Looking for recommendations for Resolution #1? Let us know! 

Stacy comes to Wine Library from the production side of the industry. After studying agriculture in college, she found herself working at a local winery and, at harvest season, snacking on as many Pinot Noir grapes as she could take before the winemaker noticed. She enjoys reading, hiking, and scoping out what's in season at the local farmers' markets.