Ever end up with leftover red wine? Yeah, me neither.
We’re hobbyist home vintners. Over the last 4 or 5 years, we’ve bottled (and drank!) several varietals. We started a merlot that promised to be outstanding. And then life got in the way… and I pushed that outstanding merlot too far. We were left with few options so we chose to make Merlot Vinegar.
Wine, when exposed to air, slowly turns to vinegar. There are homemade vinegar kits that include “special” starters out on the interwebs and “special” bottles in which to brew your own vinegar. You can go that route and with great results, no doubt. But you can also do this with fantastic results and without much special equipment.
You need a starter: leftover wine will do.
You need a container: a wide jar will increase the surface area of the wine that is exposed to air.
You need a cover: A few layers of gauze or cheesecloth (maybe an old kitchen towel) fastened with some twine or a rubberband will keep dust and other unpleasantries out of your vinegar.
You need time: Our merlot vinegar sat for 4 months in a corner of a little-used room.
I purchased hermetic bottles at The Container Store, and with the aid of a funnel, filled the jars. I also printed a card with a few recipes that used for red wine vinegar, just in case the recipients needed some ideas: