How to Fix Wine that Tastes Like Vinegar Without Ruining It

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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What’s worse than opening a great bottle of wine and letting it turn sour! Wine, when left exposed to the air, turns into vinegar. This will ruin the wine and make it taste horrible, even for cooking. 


Why does my Wine Taste Like Vinegar?

There are bacteria in the air we breathe. When some of these bacteria, known as acetobacter, enter your wine, they ‌ turn the alcohol into acetic acid. This acid is what makes stale wine taste sour. 

A similar process makes store-bought vinegar. Again, wine or other alcohol is left exposed to bacteria that convert the ethanol alcohol into acetic acid. Under a controlled environment, these bacteria produce something delicious. 

Sometimes, these bacteria enter the wine during the wine-making process. This can make the wine sour even before opening the bottle.

If you’ve bought wine and noticed an off-putting sour taste and foul smell after opening it, it means it’s “corked.” Unfortunately, any wine that’s been corked has turned bad in the bottle. 

Fortunately, most wine shops allow you to return a corked bottle. Just remember to bring the bottle with you so they can exchange it. 

Clinking three wine glasses - How to Fix Wine that Tastes Like Vinegar?

How do you get the vinegar taste out of wine?

Unfortunately, once a wine has turned sour, it’s impossible to return it to normal. Sometimes, cooking with a wine that has turned sour may remove the flavors, but it is best to just use a freshly bought wine instead. 


Is it safe to drink wine that tastes like vinegar?

There are many great bacteria out there that are perfectly safe for human consumption. Luckily for us, the bacteria that turn alcohol into vinegar are too. 

So if you drink wine that tastes like vinegar, it will not be pleasant, but it will not harm you. Alcohol‌, on the other hand, is more harmful, and many of us know overindulging can be painful. 


Is Wine That Similar to Vinegar?

Whenever you buy vinegar at the store, you will notice that most of it is made from common alcoholic beverages like wine, malt, or cider. This is because the bacteria consume alcohol and turn it into acetic acid. 

Vinegar made from wine may be the most popular and well-known. However, if you compare the color of red wine with balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, you will notice that they look the same. 

This is because many of the tannins and flavors of red wine are preserved in the vinegar they produce.

Final Thoughts on Fixing Wine that Tastes like Vinegar

When bacteria, known as acetobacter, enter your wine, they turn the alcohol into acetic acid. This acid is what makes wine taste sour. You can’t get this sour taste out of wine once it’s happened. 

It is perfectly safe to drink wine that has turned sour, but the taste will be horrible. However, under controlled circumstances and with the right bacteria, you can make excellent vinegar from wine. 

Some of the best vinegar on the planet is made from wine, and they share many similarities.