Does Red Wine Vinegar Go Bad Once You’ve Opened It?

Red wine vinegar is a vinegar made from the fermentation of red wine (source). It is one of the more prominent vinegars out there. As a result of the process, the produced vinegar has very little alcohol content and has a tangy taste to it. The color varies between pale pink and maroon.

It is frequently used in all kinds of foods, varying from salads to full meals such as beef and pork. It has a magnitude of health benefits such as improving blood pressure and reducing blood sugar levels.

You might be enticed this very moment to open that year-old bottle of red wine vinegar, marinate some beef and enjoy a delectable meal.

But the problem at hand is that you don’t know whether it is safe to consume it. To find out the answer to does red wine vinegar go bad, continue reading.

How Long Does Red Wine Vinegar Last? Does Red Wine Vinegar Go Bad?

what-is-red-wine-vinegar

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – does red wine vinegar go bad? In simple words, it does not. However, that’s only a part of the answer.

You see, red wine vinegar is essentially an acid produced from the fermentation of red wine, meaning that it has a low pH. This plays a vital role in preventing it from spoiling (source).

That’s because most bacteria that spoil food are unable to thrive at such a pH. Hence, the major reason that makes food rot is not present. However, there is a catch to this: the red wine vinegar suffers from taste degradation.

While it has an infinite shelf life, over time, that taste becomes duller and less punchy. It is for this reason that manufacturers generally give it a Best By date of 2-3 years. This holds true for both opened and unopened red wine vinegar, provided that the opened bottle is tightly sealed.

The expiry date just indicated the period during which it is will taste the best.

How to Tell Red Wine Vinegar Is Bad?

how-to-tell-if-red-wine-vinegar-is-bad

Reiterating, no vinegar like rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar ever goes ‘bad.’ It only loses its characteristic taste over time. It is impossible to prevent this as it is a natural process caused by the air.

There are also some other external factors involved in the degradation of vinegar such as:

  • Heat and sunlight
  • External contamination (by other substances or food items)

As such, there are some obvious indications that your bottle of red wine vinegar has become unfit for consumption:

  • Bad or foul smell from the liquid
  • Appearance of growths in the container
  • Severe loss of its iconic taste

Hence, it is best to smell the vinegar and take a simple taste test. This will allow you to easily determine whether or not it is safe to use.

How to Store Red Wine Vinegar Properly?

how-to-store-red-wine-vinegar

Due to the nature and chemical composition of red wine vinegar, there is no need to refrigerate it. Instead, you can just store it in a dark and dry place.

For unopened red wine vinegar, you can store it just about anywhere away from heat like in the pantry or cupboard. This should be obvious as heat is the prime cause for spoiling any food.

For an opened bottle of red wine vinegar, the preliminary precautions remain the same with one additional thing to take note of.

Make sure the lid of the container is tightly sealed. Failing to do so will make the liquid more susceptible to rapid evaporation, making it lose its taste faster than usual.

To summarize:

  1. 1
    Keep the lid of the bottle sealed tight
  2. 2
    Store in absence of sunlight or heat
  3. 3
    A double-safe measure would be to use waterproof tape on the lid

All in all, red wine vinegar rarely goes bad and has an indefinite shelf life only with taste degradation. It will remain safe to consume with just a change in taste. Thus, to achieve the best taste, it is recommended to replace your bottle with a new one every 3-4 years.

Leave a Comment