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Is there a difference between the two? Also, does the commercially available wine vinegar contain any alcohol?

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2 Answers 2

As Blessed Geek indicates, vinegar is made by fermentation of ethanol by "mother of vinegar", a bacterial culture. This is true of all vinegar, not just wine vinegar. The unique flavor profile of various vinegars is the result of other flavors in the base wine or spirit used to produce the vinegar. (Well, some vinegars like true traditionally produced balsamic vinegar get flavor from the casks in which they are produced and aged, but that is a special case.)

Finding definitive and credible sources on the amount of remaining alcohol in the final product after fermentation is difficult. One of the more credible sites indicates no more than about 2% alcohol content remains; other sources seem to indicate about 0.5%.

Unless you are concerned about the laws of Islam, or the possible affect on a recovering alcoholic, this is trace alcohol almost certainly negligible. I am not qualified to comment on what it might mean for those two areas of concern, though.

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@J.A.I.L. Yes, I inferred that from my research, and I am simply unqualified to have any opinion at all on the topic :-) But I didn't want to just dismiss the concern, since we don't know why the question was asked. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 25 '13 at 8:06

Vinegar is a by-product of alcoholic fermentation. Rather, alcoholic beverages might be considered the intermediate-product of vinegar-making.

Therefore,

  • apple vinegar is made from fermented hard apple cider.
  • grape vinegar is made from further fermenting grape wine.
  • rice vinegar is made from further fermenting rice wine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar.

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