How to use up leftover wine

Date Published

21st May 2018


How to reduce drinking



You might be surprised by just how many clever ways you can put the remainder of your bottle of wine to use!

That “little drop” at the end of a bottle of wine. Maybe you drink it just to avoid putting the bottle back in the fridge or “wasting it”. But that little drop can be as much as a whole glass – and often the difference between staying within the UK Chief Medical Officers' low risk drinking guidelines or exceeding them. The guidelines advise:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it's best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days
  • If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risk of death from long-term illness and injuries
  • The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis
  • If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days a week

Our Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app can do a great job of helping you track the units and calories you're drinking. It also lets you select the days you won't drink and helps you stick to them.

Units in a bottle of wine

The average bottle of wine contains as many as 10 units. If you're sharing a bottle of wine with your partner or a friend most nights of the week, you are both drinking at a level that could put you at risk of developing long-term health issues.

You're far better off saving the remainder of the bottle for another day. You could save it to drink later in the week or to use it in one of the following ways.

What to do with leftover wine

Cork it! Spruce up your bottle with a stylish bottle stop. Look for one that's as airtight as possible. The less air in the bottle, the slower the wine will oxidise and go bad. Most wines are good for a couple of days.

Leave it standing. Wine bottle stands can make a fun feature of your bottle while you leave it waiting on the side for another night.

Freeze! Grab an empty ice cube tray. Fill it up with your leftover wine and get it straight in the freezer. Now you have an instant ingredient to flavour your cooking for weeks to come.

How to cook with leftover red wine

Add your leftover red wine ice cubes to meat dishes such as stews, as well as marinades and gravy. One or two-day-old wine is perfect for poaching fruit. Fresh pears poached in red wine make a delicious – and very low fat – dessert.

It's not just for Christmas. If you have some red wine left over, turn it into delicious mulled wine and save it for a party.

Red wine and tomatoes make great companions. Add to bolognese sauce or soup.

How to cook with leftover white wine

Add some flavour to a creamy or white sauce with a couple of leftover white wine ice cubes. Cooking with wine can enhance a fish dish. Try cod with white wine, garlic and lemon.

Splash some leftover white wine into risotto or paella - the rice will soak up the wine for a rich flavour.

If you've left the wine too long, and it's gone a bit vinegary, that's great! Make a salad dressing. One part wine, two parts olive oil is the right balance. Then add some salt and pepper for a simple dressing plus some French mustard for a bit of a kick.

More on units and calories in wine