How do you choose between red wine and red wine vinegar in cooking? Likewise, how do you choose between white wine and white wine vinegar?

The specific example I am thinking of is deglazing a pan, but I'd love to know the general "do's and don'ts."

I did a fairly thorough search of this site, and I'm a little surprised this question hasn't been asked yet. This is the closest one, but it asks about vinegar vs wine vinegar, not wine vinegar vs wine.

  • 12
    Don't wine and vinegar have drastically different tastes to you? Vinegar is substantially more acidic, and there's that distinctive vinegar taste/smell.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 3:44
  • 1
    Don't deglaze a pan with delicate aroma liquids such as wine or wine vinegar. Use water or stock
    – TFD
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 6:33
  • I suppose between the two for that purpose, wine would be better, since the vapor from vinegar boiling off is a bit unpleasant. But yeah, I'm not really sure how to answer this, beyond neither for deglazing, and they're completely different.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 7:08
  • @TFD Where on earth did you get that idea? Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 9:36
  • @ElendilTheTall deglaze with water to ~half of required liquid volume, then add your wine or other delicate aroma liquids to bring up to required liquid level, then gently reduce. Deglazing with a good wine, turns it into crap wine
    – TFD
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


Wine vinegar and wine are very different although are produced from the same thing. Wine vinegars are vinegars produced from fermenting wine by acetic acid bacteria which convert the ethanol in wine into acetic acid.

Being a vinegar, it is much sharper than wine although like wine many flavours can be detected beyond the generic sharp lemon-like flavour, particularly in the premium aged varieties such as balsamic vinegar from Modena.

Wine vinegar has no alcoholic content in it and so there is no need to 'burn off the alcohol' which you would do when cooking with wine.

Wine has a much subtler flavour and so would use it in things like gravies, sauces, etc. Likewise, vinegar is much stronger and I would mainly use it in vinaigrettes or in small quantities in cooking (ie finishing of a dish with a small drizzle of vinegar)in much the same way as you might use lemon.

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