What should I do with wine that's been open for a month?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I received some open bottles of red wine. They've been in my refrigerator for over a month, but I don’t want to throw them out. Can I use the wine in roasts or stews, or is it too old? Can I combine all the wines and make vinegar?

—Melissa, Ga.

Dear Melissa,

Dealing with open bottles of wine is an occupational hazard among wine writers, retailers and restaurateurs! Once a bottle of wine is open, the oxidation process begins. As it oxidizes, fruit flavors will take on notes of bruised apples and nuts. The wine doesn’t spoil in the way that food can, but it will become less enjoyable to drink. This will happen quicker with older, more delicate wines than with younger, more robust bottles. While it varies on the wine (and the person drinking the wine) after a week or so in the refrigerator, I imagine most of the wine’s best qualities have faded. (The next time you’re met with an open bottle of wine, check out our video on how to save it for later!)

There are plenty of fun ways to use “leftover wine” (let me pause a moment for everyone who wants to make their “What’s leftover wine?” jokes), including marinades, glazes, sangria, mulled wine or even saving it as ice cubes for later. But most of these take advantage of wine’s fresh fruit flavors soon after it’s open, and I suspect the bottles in your fridge are past this point. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never found a bottle that old in my fridge and grabbed it to use a splash to deglaze a pan, but I don’t make a practice of it.

Your best bet is to make vinegar, which by its nature involves exposing the wine to air and it becoming oxidized. And yes, you can combine all the wines together!

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny

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