How to Make Red Wine Vinegar at Home (Hint: It’s Easy!)

 In CGT Blog, Recipes

Make Your Own Red Wine Vinegar at Home!

Wine vinegars are an essential element in your cupboard arsenal! While picking up a bottle from the store is easy enough, there may be a better (and tastier) alternative. If you’ve got a few minutes and a little bit of gumption you can make some homemade red wine vinegar to really liven up your culinary creations. Save the trip to the market and let Chateau Grand Traverse show you how to make red wine vinegar.

Choosing a Wine to Make Red Wine Vinegar

The most important aspect of how to make red wine vinegar is all in the name—the wine! Select a quality red wine to develop into your red wine vinegar. Two things to keep in mind when selecting your wine are taste and alcohol content. If you don’t enjoy the flavor sipping it from a glass, it’s unlikely that you will like it as a vinegar. The Chateau Grand Traverse 2016 Cabernet Franc Reserve or the 2018 Gamay Noir are two of our favorites!

Next, consider alcohol content. Opt for a wine in the moderate ABV range of 11-14%. Wine with too high alcohol content will inhibit the transformative bacteria, and if the alcohol content is too low, the vinegar is prone to spoil.

Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

The easiest way to make red wine vinegar is to do…nothing! Ok, well not exactly nothing. Pour the wine into a well aerated vessel such as a crock and cover with a cheesecloth to keep out fruit flies.  Left out in a warm place over a few weeks, oxidation will cause the exposed wine to naturally develop into red wine vinegar.

Red Wine Vinegar Recipe

If you are looking to get a little more involved in the process of making red wine vinegar, you’ll have to go through a few more steps, principal of which is cultivating the “mother” vinegar. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One large glass, ceramic or stainless steel container (A large Mason jar works great)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rubber band
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine
  • ½ cup live raw vinegar
  • Water

Step 1: Shake it Up

Pour the wine into the large container, replace the lid and shake it to aerate the wine. Remove the lid and add water until the container is ¾ of the way full. Next add the raw vinegar, cover the opening with cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band.

Step 2: The Mother

Place the covered container in a dark room that is at room temperature (such as a pantry) for 3 to 4 weeks. Monitor the jar for the development of the “mother.”

Red Wine Vinegar Mother

The red wine vinegar mother is Mycoderma aceti, or the helpful bacteria that ferments the alcohol into vinegar. The mother can be purchased, or it can be cultivated from raw live vinegar by following the steps described above.

The “mother” should be translucent and absent of any mold. If you do observe flecks of green, black or white mold, you can scrape it off. If the mold returns, throw out the batch and start over.

Step 3: Taste Test

As it develops after the 3-4 week mark you can begin to taste it to gauge the level of fermentation and you should begin to smell vinegar from the jar. After 2 months the alcohol in the wine should be acidified and be ready to use. Strain the red wine vinegar into a bottle, save the mother for a new batch, and enjoy!

You’re Ready to Get Started!

Now you know all about how to make vinegar from wine! Although it does require some patience and a several weeks of dutiful observation, the payoff is worth the time investment! Not only do you have pride in knowing you made it yourself, your homemade red wine vinegar will have a much more complex, and delicious taste profile than store-bought brands.

If you’re unsure on which red wine to use for your red wine vinegar recipe, we’ve got you covered! Visit us or order online, to pick the perfect red for your red wine vinegar recipe or your dinner guests!