Alright, it’s nothing to be ashamed of; everybody’s bought a bottle of wine they ended up wishing they hadn’t. You take a sip and say, “Yeah, not for me, thanks,” or you overstocked for a party, or you simply put it back in its place and forgot about it altogether. Really, there could be any number of reasons that a bottle of open wine is slowly going off on the sideboard. Here are a few ways to free up that space again without wasting a single drop. Not that any of us at Winerist have ever encountered such a thing as ‘leftover wine’…
1. Soak It
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By “It,” we mean steak, lamb or even chicken. Now, you might be thinking this isn’t exactly all that new or unique; wine, and red wine especially, has been used as a meat marinade since the days of Ancient Rome. But what better excuse is there to treat yourself to a deliciously fancy dinner than using up your leftover wine? (Although you may need to buy more wine to pair with your steak, and then you’ll have more leftovers, and so on….) Alternatively, you can use red wines as an ingredient in a number of mouthwatering sauces.
2. Spritz It
If that juicy steak from No. 1 didn’t use up all your leftovers, maybe this part of a balanced diet will. Thanks to its alcohol content, wine is actually pretty useful as a disinfectant, and is obviously safe to consume. That means there’s an easier way than washing to get those pesky pesticides off of your fresh fruits and veggies: transfer your leftover wine into an empty spray bottle, and spritz those germs away!
3. Bait It
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So we’ve just learned that wine can rid your veggies of pesticides and any other nasty stuff, but here’s some even better news: it can rid your kitchen of the pests themselves! You can use your leftover wine as bait in your own DIY fly trap. Just pour a bit into a small cup, shallow bowl, or empty spice bottle (as seen above) and cover the top with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic using the tip of a pen or pencil; gnats will be drawn into the trap by the alluring scent of fermented fruit, but they won’t be able to escape.
4. Blend It
Summer is the season for splurging and splashing, so pour a splash of whatever leftover wine you’ve got into your next smoothie! Both red and white wines work perfectly as a liquid substitute in your favourite fruity blends, adding their own flavours for a more sophisticated treat.
5. Dye It
In the wise words of Bob Ross, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” So don’t cry over spilled Merlot on your clothes! Instead, make the most of the moment by letting your artistic side take control. It’s simple: boil a pot of your red wine of choice, then bring the heat down and soak your soon-to-be-unruined clothing for a few hours (longer for darker results, shorter for lighter). Get creative with tie-dye or ombre designs, or go for a classic solid.
6. Clean It
Alright, this is similar to No. 2, but it’s really worth saying again. Wine, particularly white wine, is a heaven-sent cleaning agent. Thanks to its high acidity, it can be used to clean anything from windows to basic household surfaces to the toughest of grease and oil stains. And, perhaps most importantly, if you don’t want to take the plunge and dye your favourite white blouse pink (or if you can’t fit your whole carpet in a pot), act fast: white wine can undo the damage.
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo at flickr.com
Here’s one last edible upcycle for your leftover wine: turn it into jelly (jello)! You can get pretty creative here with your wine and jelly mixtures, though orange is a great flavour to go with red wine for a lovely sangria-like result. You can also keep the form casual with jello-shots, or go for a more dinner party appropriate dessert vibe.
8. Heal It
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Since we obviously know wine is safe to consume, and alcohol is a disinfectant, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that wine can be used to clean open wounds. While severe wounds should be treated at a hospital as soon as possible, wine can function as a first-aid or substitute wound disinfectant when you’re in a pinch, and is probably good enough for small cuts. Wine is also considered by some to be a home remedy for bruises, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of grape flavonoids. And while we’re on the topic of useful ingredients, wine’s antioxidants make it very useful as a DIY facial treatment for sun damage and wrinkles.
9. Freeze It
Photo Credit: Brenda Anderson at flickr.com
Wine, like many things, can be preserved for a virtually indefinite amount of time when frozen. Freeze it in an ice cube tray, and the possibilities are endless. You can keep your next glass of wine from getting watered down with regular ice, make the sauces from No. 1, or those smoothies from No. 4 – whenever you need a bit of wine, just reach into your freezer and bust a few out! You can even add toothpicks while the wine is freezing for mini wine-sicles, or go all out with a popsicle tray, and garnish to taste with fresh fruit or flower petals.
10. Feel It
After making such good use of your leftover wine with all of these tricks, you may never have felt so thrifty. Finally, with vinotherapy you will never have felt so fancy. It’s an up-and-coming luxury trend (or rather, the really retro comeback of a medieval high-class health habit) where you literally take a bath in wine. Or maybe not literally. By tradition, the bath is actually mixed with upcycled residue from the wine-making process, but in the comfort of your own tub, a glass or two of red wine in the water will do. Your skin will soak up all those polyphenols and antioxidants that are so good for you when consumed (in moderation, where wine is concerned), and you’ll come out feeling silky smooth. And sober, since you can’t absorb enough alcohol through your skin to come out tipsy. Want to try some for yourself? Check out our top wine spas in Spain, Argentina, and France!