How to Dispose of Bad Wine

How to Dispose of Bad Wine: The Ultimate Guide

If you’re an avid wine collector like we are, then you probably have left a few bottles too long in your cellar. Or maybe a few bottles were exposed to sunlight for too long and are now spoiled. So how do you dispose of bad wine? 

The easiest way to dispose of bad wine is to simply pour it down your drain, then recycle the bottles at your nearest grocery store. But there are other uses for bad wine if you feel like spending a bit more time on it. You can use it to make your own vinegar, or if it simply doesn’t taste as good as you can use it as cooking or poaching wine.

Author Note: But you’ll want to make sure you dispose of it properly. Lucky for you, we’ve done the research and put together detailed instructions. in this article, we’ll go over exactly how to dispose of bad wine. We’ll also go into detail on how to make homemade vinegar out of old wine, as well as when you can use it for cooking.

Let’s get started.

How to Properly Dispose of Bad Wine

As we mentioned above, the most straightforward way to dispose of bad wine is to simply pour it down your kitchen sink and recycle the bottle. Here are a few tips for disposing of your old wine down the drain effectively and safely.

  • Turn your faucet on to run warm water down the drain while dumping your wine. This will ensure any acidic properties the bad wine may have will be diluted when going through your pipes.
  • Wash the inside of the bottle out when you are done dumping it down the drain. This will ensure no mold grows before you recycle it and will prevent spilling or staining when you take the bottle to be recycled.
  • Let your cleaned bottles dry before taking them to be recycled. This will also help with preventing spillage or wine stains in your car or on the carpet.
  • If you would rather keep the wine bottles to use for storage or for other uses (like a flower vase), you can soak them in warm water to quickly remove the tags. We’ll go more into how to do that later in the article.

How to Make Red Wine Vinegar Out of Old Wine

Ancient wine

Another great option for how to dispose of old wine is to turn it into vinegar! That’s right, you can easily and safely turn most old wines into great vinegar. Wine vinegar goes great with olive oil on salads, or as a dipping sauce with rustic bread. Here are the instructions on how to make vinegar out of your old wine.


  1. First, you’ll need to make sure you have old wine. If you’re reading this article, you most likely are good here.
  2. Next your need to get some live vinegar. What’s live vinegar? It’s unpasteurized vinegar that still has live cultures in it. You can find live vinegar at most alternative grocery stores or at Whole Foods. Braggs apple cider vinegar is a common brand you can find at most stores.
  3. Once you’ve acquired some live vinegar now you simply need to combine it with your old wine. We like to pour one part live vinegar to 3 parts wine. This will ensure you get enough of the culture from the live vinegar to start the process.
  4. Pour this ratio of wine and vinegar into a pot or other bowl and cover with a cellophane wrap or tin foil. 
  5. Put the container someplace dark in your kitchen where it will stay at room temperature. This will ensure the culture has optimum conditions to turn your wine to vinegar.
  6. Now you wait! For most red wines you’ll need to wait around two months for the vinegar culture to do its job. For white wines, you’ll need to wait longer – usually around 6 months. This is because white wines tend to have more residual sugar which takes longer for the culture to eat through.
  7. After you have waited the appropriate amount of time, your vinegar should be good to go! Feel free to taste it to see what it’s like.
  8. Pro tip: be sure to filter the finished product through a strainer to get rid of any of the residual cultures that may have settled on the bottom or is floating on the top. You don’t want any of that in your salad or on your bread!

Using Old Wine for Cooking

old wine bottles covered with dust and cobwebs are in the wine cellar

If your wine isn’t spoiled and just tastes kind of old or off, you can definitely still use it for cooking. This is a great option for old wine you may have opened a week ago that is now oxidized. 

Top Tip: Be sure to smell/taste the wine to make sure it is still safe to consume. If it smells bad do not drink it or use it for cooking! Pour it down the drain and save yourself the potential health hazard.

Here are a few tips on how to use old wine for cooking.

  • Ideally, you can use the old wine only a few days after opening it or after letting it sit in the fridge open for too long. If this is the case, feel free to add it to spaghetti sauces or use it to saute meats and seafood.
  • If you don’t want to use it right away, you can store it in your freezer. That’s right! Pour the extra old wine into an unused ice cube tray and freeze it into cubes. You now have an easy and quick way to add a little cooking wine. It also won’t go bad for many months when frozen.
  • If you didn’t drink the wine because you didn’t like how it tasted when you open it, be wary of adding it to the food you already enjoy. While cooking wine removes a lot of its flavors, you’ll most likely still be able to taste the overall flavor of the wine. So if you hated it, you’re better off dumping it down the drain than potentially ruining your dinner.

How to Remove Labels from Wine Bottles

Another great option for how to dispose of bad wine is to use the empty bottles for storage or decorating. Empty wine bottles are great for holding flowers, some of the vinegar you may have made with the wine or other cooking sauces. Here’s how to remove the labels to get clean, unbranded bottles.


  1. The best way to remove wine labels from bottles is to soak them in hot water. You can try to peel them off without soaking but it will take you much longer and leave pieces of label you couldn’t get off.
  2. Begin by heating up water in a pot that is big enough to submerge the part of the wine bottle that has the label. This means it has to be a fairly big pot.
  3. Once the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat and wait a minute for it to cool down. Then you can place your wine bottle in the hot water. If you put your wine bottle in right after the water was boiling, you run the risk of cracking the bottle. This is especially true if the ambient temperature where you’re working is cold.
  4. Make sure the entire label is underwater. You may need to use another pot or something with weight to hold the bottle underwater.
  5. Let the bottle sit until the water is cool enough for you to touch it.
  6. Remove the bottle from the water and begin peeling off the label, it should come off easily.
  7. If there is still residual paper or glue left on the bottle, repeat the process again, and scrape the glue off with a spatula.
  8. That’s it! Enjoy your completely clean wine bottle.

How to Poach Fruit in Old Wine

Vintage wine bottles in cellar

Author Note: The last option for how to dispose of bad wine is to use it to poach different kinds of fruits, like pears or peaches. Let’s go over how you can do this easily in your kitchen.


  1. Pour your old wine into a large pot with an equal amount of water. 
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Cut up your fruit (we like using pears, peaches, and apples the most) and remove any pits or seeds. We prefer to cut our fruit up into fourths or sixths for the optimum amount of surface areas for poaching.
  4. Add your cut-up fruit and let the mixture boil for 15 minutes.
  5. After the 15 minutes is up, let the mixture cool down for another 15 minutes.
  6. Then strain your poached fruit out of the mixture with a large strainer.
  7. Your poached fruit is ready to eat! We like putting it on salads or adding to a sweet salsa. Yum!


Know how to dispose of bad wine can be a bit of a challenge. While you don’t want to drink it anymore because it doesn’t taste good, you don’t always want to just pour it down your drain either. We hope you now know several alternatives to disposing of your bad wine down the drain.

If it was up to us, we would make vinegar out of all the wine we don’t finish. It makes for a delicious addition to salads and other appetizers. 

We hope you enjoyed this article on how to dispose of bad wine. If you have additional questions or other ways you use up bad wine, let us know about it in the comments below.

To living a full-bodied life,


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