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

3 Answers 3


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.

  • Even for muslims it is very interpretable.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 8:01
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 8:06

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


  • 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.



It can be argued that there is a difference, as you can make vinegar directly from grapes by letting them ferment naturally and call that "grape vinegar" instead of "wine vinegar". However, I'm not sure if there would be any difference in taste, since the process is exactly the same, the only difference is that bacteria producing acetic acid are introduced (either manually or from the air), before the yeast ends it's work converting grapes to wine and there is a period of time, when both microbes work together.

I'm sure some inexperienced ancient Greek winemakers made such "grape vinegar" accidentally, if wine was not correctly covered, didn't have enough overhead for CO2 coating and got contaminated.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.