What to do With Leftover Wine? 12 Recipes

Let’s be honest; wine doesn’t last forever. In fact, a really good bottle of wine should be enjoyed within just a couple of days. Luckily, a good bottle of wine doesn’t have to go down the drain just because it’s past its prime. Here are 12 recipes that will answer the question, what to do with leftover wine?

How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?

A good bottle of red wine lasts around three days once opened, so long as it is kept in a cool spot away from direct light and with the cork tightly sealing the bottle. A bottle of white wine will usually keep for up five days in the refrigerator with a cork-tight seal.

Dessert wines and fortified wines will usually last several weeks longer. I find a bottle of Port tastes just fine in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Other dessert wines that aren’t fortified, like Sauternes, can last for up to several weeks as well.

What to Do with Leftover Wine

Clams with peppers, lemongrass, and lemon wedges.

Cook With It

This one may seem obvious, but the simple addition of wine to a recipe is perfect for enhancing flavor and adding complexity. If I’m making a buttery cream sauce for shrimp scampi, for example, I find white wine is a necessity. For tomato sauces, red wine is ideal for elevating the sauce.

Alternatively, red wine also makes for a great marinade. I’ve found this recipe handy on more than one occasion.

Check this out: Thai clams steamed in tom yum and lemongrass

Cocktail in a clear glass.

Make a Cocktail

Wine cocktails are popular and make perfect use of an already open bottle of wine. From sangria to mulled wine to spritzers, the opportunity is endless.

Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

  • Summertime Sangria- check out this handy article.
  • Wine spritzer– combine white or rosé wine with fresh fruit and soda water- here’s a recipe.
  • Mulled wine- simply simmer wine (red or white) with spices, sugar, and a liqueur of your choice- here’s a recipe.
  • Champagne simple syrup to use in place of boring plain simple. I found a great recipe here.
  • Red wine and cola- don’t knock it till you try it. I was initially skeptical, but this is surprisingly refreshing. Simply combine equal parts dry red wine with cola and serve with a squeeze of a lemon wedge – it’s called the kalimotxo!
Wood spoon holding coarse salt that's spilling over.

Make Wine-Infused Salt

My personal favorite, this surprisingly easy hack makes for a perfect gift or accent on a nice meal. Simple, yet sophisticated and wildly creative. I’ve included a recipe (with variations) down below!

Jump to Recipe
Clear ramekin filled with chocolate mousse and topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder.

Bake With It

Just like with dinner, wine is a perfect addition to a host of dessert recipes. Ideally, this would incorporate an already opened bottle of dessert wine, such as Port, Sauternes, or Moscato. I’ve also recently developed a minor obsession with this Prosecco cake.

Check this out: Chocolate mousse, made with coffee liqueur – but easily could be swapped with Pork, and the whipped cream incorporates an ice wine as well.


What can I do with corked wine?

Unfortunately, if a wine is corked, it’s really no use salvaging it in a food or beverage recipe, as it’s basically ruined. Your best bet is to compost the wine.

Can I compost wine?

Yes, you sure can! In fact, the yeast present in a bottle of wine may aid in adding essential nutrients to the compost.

Does alcohol burn off from cooking wine?

The longer you cook the food, the more alcohol will burn off. That said, it takes longer than you may realize to fully cook out added alcohol. On average, it takes about 3 hours of simmering to completely remove all traces of alcohol.

Tips for Preserving Wine

There are steps to preserving a good bottle of wine that you’d like to last a day – or two – longer. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Vacu-Vin- I have one, and I used to use it every day at the winery I worked for. It’s simple and affordable and uses a pump to extract oxygen from the bottle.
  • Coravin- More pricey than the vacu-vin, but ideal for preserving a bottle of wine for up to a month without opening it. It uses a needle to pierce the cork, then argon to push the wine out while preventing oxygen from getting in the bottle. Ideally, a coravined bottle of wine should be consumed after 3-4 weeks.
  • Wine fridges- Wine ages exponentially faster at room temperature, which is why wines are best stored between 55-59°F. Wine fridges can be as spendy as you want, but for storing your nicest bottles, it is well worth the investment.
Red sea salt in a white ramekin.

Wine Infused Sea Salt

Simple, yet creative and fun. Infused sea salt is easily customizable and makes for perfect gifts for your fellow foodie!
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 5 cups


  • Measuring cups
  • 1 Large bowl
  • 1 Strainer
  • 1 Baking sheet lined with parchment paper


For Cabernet rosemary salt

  • 5 cups Coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon Or other dry red wine
  • 4-5 sprigs Rosemary Or thyme

For Riesling lemon and pink peppercorn salt

  • 5 cups Coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup Dry or off-dry Riesling Or Gewurztraminer
  • 1 Zest of lemon Can swap for orange

For smoked Syrah salt

  • 5 cups Coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup Syrah
  • 1/4 tsp Smoke flavor


  • Pour wine over the sea salt and additional ingredients, mixing to combine. Allow this to sit for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 290°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • After the hour is up, strain the wine-infused salt over a strainer, discarding the wine and herbs. Then, transfer the salt to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 90 minutes, or until the salt is almost completely dry.
  • Allow the salt to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
Keyword Infused salt, Red wine, Salt, White wine
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