11 Genius Hacks for Leftover Wine

Karen Frazier
wine glasses

Wondering what to do with leftover wine? Never thought we'd see the day! Whether you've popped a cork alone or are suffering the aftermath of a house party, a half-used bottle of Pinot Noir may be unusual (and maybe a little tragic), but it happens. So how does one deal with excess wine? If you say, "pour it down the drain," you may have lost your mind. Out of the question! There are ways you can put it to good use without wasting valuable vino.

1. Use It as a Dye

Ever use red wine as a dye before? The clumsy among us might say, "Not on purpose..." If you've ever spilled wine on your carpet, you're well aware of how aggravating the stuff can be to get out. That being said, think about how great of a dye wine can be! And who wouldn't want to drape themselves in an elegant, Merlot-esque color?

spilled red wine

Heat up your leftover red wine in a pot, place your fabric in it, and stir for 10 minutes. Take the fabric out of the brew, allow it to cool, and rinse with water. Voila! You've got yourself red wine-colored fabric.

2. Bait Fruit Flies

It's war! They swarm around you like a vicious pack of bees. They devour apples and bananas as though they contribute to your monthly rent. They're fruit flies - and they're going down. Victory is just one trap away when using this leftover-wine bait.

fruit flies

What You'll Need

  • A bowl
  • Scotch tape
  • Leftover red wine
  • Saran Wrap
  • Toothpick

Instructions

  1. Fill your bowl halfway with wine.
  2. Cover it with Saran Wrap.
  3. Tape around the bowl to secure the Saran Wrap.
  4. Poke about 15 to 20 holes on top of the Saran Wrap with a toothpick.
  5. Make sure the holes aren't too small for the fruit flies to get inside, but not too big so that they can escape.
  6. Place near the fruit fly gang and say "adios!"

3. Anti-Aging Facial Mask

"Wine? On my face?" Well, why not? It's aromatic and has antioxidants. Plus, people have put worse stuff on their face for the sake of youth. RealSimple suggests a wine-based facial mask that will not only repair sun-damaged skin, but also expel impurities.

facial mask with white wine and clay

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of wine
  • 1/4 cup kaolin clay
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic oat flour

Instructions

  1. Mix up all the ingredients.
  2. Apply to your face and don't forget the neck!
  3. After 10 minutes, rinse off with warm water.

4. Make Chocolate Wine Balls

If you've ever had chocolate balls, you'd know that this delightful dessert is like heaven and hell clashing on your taste buds - so delicious that it's divine, but so decadent that it's sinful! But if you add red wine to it? So good, you just might eat the plate too. Try it. You'll thank us later.

red wine truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup leftover red wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it bubbles around the edge. Remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the hot heavy cream over the top and stir until all chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the red wine and the butter. Stir until the butter melts. Cool in the refrigerator for about three hours.
  4. Put the cocoa powder in a shallow dish.
  5. Form the chocolate mixture into about 60 balls (using a melon baller to scoop it out helps). Roll each ball in the cocoa powder.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze; these will store in the fridge for about five days or the freezer for about six months.

5. Use White Wine as a Disinfectant

Yes, we're telling you to use white wine as a disinfectant. No, we're not crazy. And yes, there is a method to our madness. According to Oregon State University food scientist Mark Daeschel, white wine kills microbes - even food-poisoning culprits such as E. Coli and salmonella.

Disinfecting counter with wine

The mélange of alcohol and acidity helps to remove stains, and it is a better alternative to using standard cleaners, which typically have harsh chemicals. So next time you're scrubbing your countertops or sinks, reach for your leftover white wine and leave your regular cleaner on the shelf.

6. Freeze It for Cooking

If you need to preserve your wine, here's a clever tip: freeze it in an ice tray. As per the California Wine Club, 10 to 12 cubes yield one cup of wine, which is useful info if you ever need to make wine-infused dishes.

7. Make Sangria by the Glass

You can make both red wine sangria and white wine sangria with leftover wine, but you'll only be able to make a small batch; one or two servings depending on the amount of wine you have left.

Glasses of sangria garnished with fruit and thyme

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup leftover wine (red or white)
  • 1/2 shot brandy
  • 1/2 shot orange liqueur
  • 1 shot orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/2 shot simple syrup
  • 1 shot club soda
  • 1/4 cup sliced fruit, such as berries or oranges
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh herb sprigs for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large glass, combine the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, and fruit. Stir well.
  2. Add the ice cubes. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs such as thyme, rosemary, or mint.

8. Make a Wine Facial Serum

Wine can help exfoliate skin and provide valuable nutrients, leaving your skin glowing. If you've got leftover dry red or white wine, try making a luxurious anti-aging facial serum.

woman with glowing skin

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 2 tablespoons rosehip oil
  • Oil from 1 vitamin E capsule
  • 3 drops neroli essential oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small dish and pour into a dark colored glass jar. Store in the refrigerator.
  2. Massage a few drops onto clean skin as part of your bedtime skincare regimen.

9. Make Adult Wine Ice Pops

A little wine, some crushed up fruit, some simple syrup for sweetness, and you've got an adult sweet treat to beat the heat. Just be sure to keep them separate from your kids' popsicles so there's not an unfortunate mixup.

wine and fruit pops

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wine (red or white)
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 2 cups soft fruit, stems, peels, and pits removed

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into four popsicle molds and freeze.

Some Combos to Try

  • Bing cherries and Merlot
  • Prosecco or Champagne and peaches
  • Rosé wine and strawberries
  • Blackberries and Syrah
  • Ruby Port and raspberries (omit simple syrup)

10. Poach Fruit

Leftover wine is fantastic for poaching soft fruits such as figs, apples, or pears.

Pears poaching in red wine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup leftover red or white wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed from pod and scraped into poaching liquid
  • About 1 cup of fruit, peeled, cored, and halved and/or sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the fruit. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit softens, about 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool with the fruit in the liquid. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  5. Serve alone or spoon fruit and liquid over vanilla ice cream.

11. Make Wine Syrup

Syrup out of wine? You bet. Use the sweet syrup on ice cream, fruit, or even breakfast foods such as waffles or pancakes.

wine syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by about half and is thick and syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove star anise and cinnamon. Cool and then pour into a jar or bottle. Refrigerate for up to five days.

How to Store Leftover Wine

Not going to use your leftover wine right away for any of the above? You can briefly store it for about three days in the fridge, tightly sealed either with the original cork or a wine stopper. It will store a little longer if you use a wine saver to seal the bottle; perhaps as long as a week, but after that you won't want to use it in any of the edible recipes here because the flavors will be off.

Using Leftover Wine

Whether it's to make your skin glowy or make your tummy happy, there are plenty of ways you can use leftover wine. So in the unlikely scenario that you happen to ever have leftover wine, there's no excuse to let it go to waste.

11 Genius Hacks for Leftover Wine