How to Deal With Leftover Wine. Why YES! There Is Such a Thing.

I understand you do not think that there is something called “Leftover wine”. It confounds you. But I can assure you that it does exist in the dark corners of the world. And I can tell you what to do with it.

I’m not what you’d call a drinker.  I have nothing against it … in fact I wish I could spend most of my days teetering about with a tinkling cocktail in hand.  It seems so elegant in a Rock Hudson, Doris Day kind of way.    Poor Rock. He had reason to drink.

I watch movies where couples are gliding around their perfectly appointed kitchens, sharing a bottle of wine while companionably making a delicious looking dinner together. I resemble the Tasmanian Devil on speed while making dinner; alone.  

The wine drinking movie people throw their heads back in laughter and take a sip.  They share a knowing glance and then take a sip.  Such fun!   When I take a sip I immediately feel slightly nauseous and often come perilously close to blurting out slurry secrets.

Sometimes if I have wine in the house I just pour a glass and walk around with it in my hand, feeling fancy and grown up.  It’s just for looks.  I always have a can of Diet Coke hidden somewhere around the corner, which I sneak a drink out of when no one is looking.  It’s like I have some sort of alcoholism dyslexia.

By far the most common use I have for wine is using it in pan sauces.  Oh … I love a good Red Wine Pan Sauce.  The trouble is, it usually only calls for 1/2 a cup of red wine.  So then I’m left with $16 worth of Chianti that ends up going bad in my fridge.  Since buying cheap wine for cooking isn’t an option (if it tastes bad to drink, it’ll taste bad in a recipe) I’ve stumbled upon this solution …

At this point in the post, I would encourage all Sommeliers and general wine connoisseurs to look away.

Because I am now suggesting if you have leftover wine, that you freeze it for cooking.  Definitely a better option than buying hobo wine for cooking.

Here’s what you do: freeze the wine.


Fill your ice cube tray with leftover wine.


Before filling the ice cube tray measure how much liquid each cube holds.  In my case, 3 cubes = 1/2 cup.

Once the cubes freeze, just pop them out and stick them in a baggie.  Wine does freeze, contrary to popular belief.  It just doesn’t freeze as hard as water would.  When you come across a recipe that calls for wine, just grab a few cubes and you’re set.


This is  my favourite Red Wine Pan Sauce recipe.

And guess what?!  You can still drink it if that’s what you want to do.  If you don’t finish a bottle, just stick it in the freezer.  It will preserve it as well as those air sucking gadgets. (scientific fact, not something I randomly made up)  Would I freeze half of a $100 bottle of wine? Well probably.

But I’m guessing that most people who have $100 bottles of wine polish them off pretty quickly.

So.  Let the discussion about how how there’s NO such thing as leftover wine begin!  I’ll be over here throwing back a Diet Coke.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


How to Deal With Leftover Wine. Why YES! There Is Such a Thing.


  1. Jane says:

    Thanks for the tip, Karen! Now I have to go get a new ice cube tray especially for freezing wine. Hubby doesn’t like the taste of alcohol or vinegar in anything that goes into his mouth and his taste buds are very sensitive.

  2. Or you could just invite some of us wine drinkers over to you know, watch you cook and help with the leftover situation 😉😁

  3. Joanne Gourley says:

    Hi – I make Italian Wine Cookies with my left over wine. I have even used 2-3 month old wine. All kinds of recipes on line for these cookies.

  4. Cathy Reeves says:

    I welcome all sorts over my threshold…wine ,Coke, tea, no tea for religious reasons, beer only, still water only…I’m a non drinker and make not one apology for it but happily provide all of these libations for guests. I feel like I can now make a decent reduction sauce to serve along with the aforementioned libations.
    However,I’ll probably cover my wine cubes to prevent freezer burn and off taste.

  5. Melody Ryan says:

    I usually buy those little 4-packs of 187 ml bottles to use for this purpose. They are decent wine. there’s enough for a recipe and usually a small glass for me.

  6. Elaine says:

    This is so timely, Karen!! I’ve been on a Beef Stroganoff kick lately; my recipe calls for red wine. I live alone now and rarely drink but I have it on hand as my friends do. If I don’t drink with them, they feel awkward so I sip along with them but sneak out to the kitchen where I have a glass of 1/2 water + 1/2 Fresca to quench my thirst. Freezing wine is a great solution for me; thanks, Karen!

  7. Karen says:

    Left over wine? That actually happens?

  8. jin chu-ferrer says:

    Big ol’ HOWDY all the way from TEXAS! =) I saw this idea featured alongside my own Mustache Straw DIY in the same Sainsbury’s holiday article. Just wanted to drop by and say what an honor it is to be featured alongside ya! You have some amazing stuff here, not to mention some pretty creative ideas! Like this wine ice cube idea! Totally gonna use this idea when I cook!


  9. Ashley says:

    I was looking for what to do with leftover wine and this is perfect! I buy a bottle to use in recipes and always have leftover wine so this is the perfect solution.

  10. Michele says:

    Brilliant!! I can’t stand the idea of wasting anything [borderline hoarder here] so I often find myself trying to force myself to drink the leftover wine. I get sloshed after just three sips so it’s certainly not ideal. haha I love this idea and you’re such a lovely writer. I found this post on Pinterest and will definitely be following you from now on. xo Michele

  11. Rachel says:

    How long will the “wine cubes” keep for before turning bad?

    • Karen says:

      Rachel – I’ve had cubes in my freezer for 6 months and still used them and they’re fine. Beyond that, I couldn’t say. ~ karen!

  12. trinity says:

    Just get the wine in a box. I think it lasts a long time since no oxygen gets to it. You can get 4 liters of cabernet/merlot mix from Tefft Cellars for $20 at Costco. I think it’s pretty great. But I am actually a beer person. And don’t like to cook. All that ice cube making seems a little too much like cooking to me.

  13. Nancy says:

    I love the hell out of wine, so it is not often I find myself having this problem. Still, clever idea. And I love your writing. Keep it up.

  14. Staci says:

    I have frozen wine in cube trays before, but I use them to make wine slushies. Just blend them in my Ninja and add some of the same flavor of wine to so it won’t be too thick to drink. Pour in my favorite margarita glass and sip on a hot summer evening. Different, cold and tastes great.

  15. Natasha says:

    If you want the blocks to freeze better then reduce the wine first in a pan and boil off some of the alcohol. This would happen in the recipe later anyway so wont affect the flavour.

  16. mothership says:

    just make sure you don’t confuse the frozen wine cubes with the frozen strawberry puree cubes in the child’s smoothie!!

  17. hilary says:

    But, if you are a casual lover of wine (like enjoy being drunk but don’t go ga ga over the grapes) … could you make Wine Popsicles??

    You’re an inspiration!

    • Karen says:

      Why yes you could! Well … kind of. It’s an ingenious idea but they’d be kinda mushy. They don’t freeze completely solid. Perfectly suited to a sno-cone actually!

  18. Heidi says:

    Never mind – just went and looked at the next post – the recipe is already shared!

    • Karen says:

      Hee! Yes, recipe has been shared. It really is good. And easy! Those are two of my favourite things all together in one recipe!

  19. Heidi says:

    Okay, but now you have to share the recipe for your red wine pan sauce after you have raved on about it!!!

  20. andrea says:

    Here’s an idea – why don’t you just make a gigantic batch of your red wine reduction sauce with the entire bottle and freeze that? Maybe leave out the butter from the sauce and add this to it when you reheat your frozen sauce… maybe? It’s an experiment I think you need to try.
    And report back…

    • Karen says:

      Andrea! I’m afraid there wouldn’t be enough fond, from the steaks to make that big a batch of Red Wine sauce. Kind of like when you make a roast. You can only make so much great tasting gravy from the fond in the roasting pan. Add too much other liquids and you lose the “beef” taste. Not to worry anyway, as I’ve just decided to become a drinker. Problem solved. :)

  21. julie says:

    in spain some teenagers drink calimocho ( which is coke and red wine mixed together. it is definitely not a doris day sort of drink and is made with the cheapest wine available… but you can feel good that you’re classier than that. and it’s actually not so bad if you don’t like the taste of wine that much.

  22. Sarah says:

    Buy a VacuVin. It’s like you never opened it.

    • Karen says:

      Sarah!!! Your comment reminded me that there’s an attachment for my FoodSaver that sucks all the air out of bottles! I’ve been meaning to get it for about 3 years! I completely, and totally forgot about it. I imagine it’s similar to the VacuVin you speak of.

      • Tessa says:

        My current husband, who can make a bottle of red wine last him a month (I drink white) does that. It works perfectly..

      • Merrilee says:

        I love that Tessa says “current” as if she can barely imagine staying with this wine-conserving guy. Lol.

      • Nancy Ann says:

        I only have a former husband: even more perfect. You don’t have to open a beer bottle or anything when he bangs his mug on the table.

  23. Katrina says:

    Great idea, I love learning ways to “re-use” without having to buy something brand new.
    Innovative and “green”. :)

  24. Amy says:

    You can also go to the health food store and purchase MOTHERS brand of vinegar. It has a “mother” in it, an enzyme that others dont. You can then mix it with your old wine and make homemake wine vinegar that you can keep for months. you can put sprigs of rosemary in it, bottle it in pretty bottles and give as gifts. ITs fun and very easy. I don’t have the recipe anymore. But I do know you can Not use just plain old vinegar, it must be mothers, and has a funky stuff floating in the bottle. Thats the “mother”. enjoy.

    • Karen says:

      Huh! Also a good suggestion. And I just happen to LOVE red wine vinegar. (insert lipsmack sound here)

  25. Tricia Rose says:

    My blood has just run cold….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *