Red Wine

If you are new to cooking with red wine, experiment. Start small as too much of a good thing can quickly take over the intended flavor.

See also white wine, Marsala and port.

Red wine is the ultimate flavor enhancer in many recipes. Not only will you enjoy the aroma while cooking, but foods will be moist and some meats will become more tender.

As the alcohol content reduces when a dish simmers, the wine taste also becomes concentrated.


Red table wines are preferred over cooking wines by most chefs. It is a decided advantage to use one that is drinkable to enhance food flavor.

Red cooking wines offer convenience. They will last longer on the shelf or in the refrigerator because preservatives, including salt, are added.

Buying Tips

It is never necessary to purchase an expensive red wine for cooking. In fact, those are best left to serve in the glass. Do not select the very cheapest, either. Bottom rack wines may turn bitter as the liquid reduces.

Don’t worry if you see sediment; it is a normal occurrence. Just be careful not to shake the bottle. Discard before it is completely emptied.

If you want to avoid adding any level of sweetness to a recipe, select a dry red.

Storage Tips

Table wines should be corked and refrigerated for no longer than two days. Bring to room temperature before reusing.

Freeze leftover table wine. Pour into ice cube trays and when set, place in a freezer-safe plastic bag. These will be good for cooking – not for drinking.

Usage Tips

• All red wines require some cooking time to incorporate their intense flavorings into the dish. Never add wine in the last few minutes before a dish is served.

• Big bold reds in particular should be allowed to simmer with the food or in the sauce for at least forty-five minutes.

• If using a cooking wine, reduce or eliminate salt in the recipe.

• Wines can also be used as a marinade.

• Use nonreactive cookware - not cast iron, unlined copper, or aluminum.

Substitution Tips

Try adding equal amounts of:
• Cranberry juice
• Infused or flavored vinegar
• Grape juice

Non-alcoholic wines can also add spark to a dish and will taste good, too.


Try one of our favorite red wine recipes:
Fish in Red Wine Sauce
Red Wine Sauce
Penne with Mushroom Sauce

Suggested Pairings

Barbecue sauce, hamburger, lamb, roasts, steaks, stocks (beef), wild game