What is Wine Vinegar (And How is it Different From Wine)?

You come home from work and head straight into the kitchen.

You’re feeling excited because you have a new recipe that you’re just raring to try out. You run through the ingredients list and have almost everything that you need prepared.

There’s just one little thing that you don’t have…

Wine vinegar.

You’ve never even heard of the stuff before, which means you don’t have any lying around the house. Thinking about it for a moment, you decide that there can’t be all that much difference between wine vinegar and Italian wine. So, you sub in some regular wine in the recipe and start cooking.

Finally, you’ve cooked the dish and you’re ready to eat.

But something isn’t quite right…

The dish doesn’t taste bad, by any means. But it’s not quite what you expected. And the reason is that you didn’t use wine vinegar.

You see, it’s easy to assume that wine vinegar is just aged wine, which can lead to the conclusion that there isn’t much of a difference between the two products. But the fact is that they are very different things, which is why you need to know what you’re buying before you use it.

In this article, we talk about the differences between wine and wine vinegar. Plus, we look at some of the benefits of wine vinegar, just in case you’re wary about adding it to your diet.

What Makes Wine Vinegar Difference From Wine?

Of course, it doesn’t take a massive leap of the imagination to know that wine vinegar is made using wine. But what many don’t realise is that there’s a very specific method that needs to be in place to create a quality wine vinegar.

And this is where the main difference between the two products comes into play.

You may assume that creating wine vinegar takes little more than opening a bottle of wine and allowing it to get oxidised to the point where the wine goes “off”. And this will certainly create a vinegar of some description. The problem is that it won’t create a quality wine vinegar. Instead, it’ll just create an acidic mess that isn’t enjoyable at all when used to create a meal.

To create wine vinegar, producers have to both oxidise and ferment a wine. The goal is to create an acid that is both suitable as a vinegar while also carrying over the fruity notes of the wine.

This is a more involved process than you might thing.

Wine vinegar producers ferment their products in large stainless-steel vats, which are used to carefully expose the alcohol in the wine to oxygen. This results in the controlled production of a quality vinegar, which is then diluted to the point where it’s palatable. Typically, this involves bringing the level of acidity down to the 5% to 7% mark.

Contrast this process with the idea of just opening a bottle of wine and leaving it to oxidise. 

The result these is an extremely acidic product that isn’t palatable at all

So, the main difference between wine and wine vinegar comes down to the additional production methods used. Ironically, creating wine vinegar requires similar methods to creating Italian wine. The key differences are the purposeful oxidisation and the diluting of the end product to create something that people can actually consume.

And of course, the other differences come down to how the products taste and how you consume them. You can think of wine vinegar as the essence of the acidity in wine combined with subtle undertones of the various notes that make up the wine. Of course, the wine itself flips this script, with the notes taking the lead and the acidity being an undertone that adds to the experience.

Now that you know how the two products differ, you may still find yourself wondering why you’d want to try wine vinegar in the first place. We have a few reasons for you to consider.

Reason #1 – It’s Great for Cooking

Just think back to the situation that we outline at the beginning of this article. In some dishes, the use of vinegar is essential because of the high acidity of the product. Trying to substitute wine in when you really need wine vinegar means you’re getting much of the fruit and less of the acid in your dish.

This can result in some dishes tasting a little off, particularly those that should only have the smallest of hints of fruit.

Simply put, wine vinegar is amazing for cooking. As well as adding different properties to a dish that you can’t get from regular wine, it’s also more versatile than traditional vinegar thanks to its fruity undertones.

Reason #2 – Wine Vinegar is Good for Your Health

We’ve talked at length about how great Italian wine is for your heart, skin, and so many other aspects of your health. But you may be surprised to learn that wine vinegar has plenty of health benefits of its own.

There’s evidence to suggest that it can help you to control your blood sugar levels, which makes sense when you consider that the process of making it involves reducing the sugars in a regular wine. Thankfully, wine vinegar retains many of the antioxidants that make regular wine so good for your health, which means it offers similar positive effects for your heart and in an anti-ageing context. 

And what’s more, wine vinegar is typically made up of acetic acid.

Studies show that this type of acid increases fat burning, reduces fat storage, and even helps to reduce your appetite. So, wine vinegar may be the way to go if you’re looking to lose weight.

The Final Word

We’re sure you didn’t need us to tell you that Italian wine and Italian wine vinegar are two different things.

But you may not have realised that these differences come from specific production methods.

Italian wine vinegar is ideal for adding some variety to your cooking. And what’s more, it has positive implications for your health, much like Italian wine does. So the next time you’re preparing a tasty dish, consider adding a little wine vinegar to really make it pop.


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