does cooking wine go bad

Any wine’s shelf life is dependent on several diverse factors. These include the label, vintage, method of preparation and how it is being stored. Bottled wine can ideally last several years beyond its stated “best by” date. However, once it has been opened, its days are numbered. 

As opposed to any wine used in cooking, “Cooking Wine” is a salt- and preservative-laced, a high-alcohol substance that can possibly stay in good shape for close to 16 months, of course, depending on the type or brand. 

Cooking using wine is in fact quite straightforward. The guiding rule is that if you actually enjoy drinking a good wine, then you can cook your meals with that wine. If it tastes good to you, it will certainly also taste good in your favorite dish. 

Are There Differences in Cooking Wine?

There are basically 6 main types of cooking wine.

  • Sweet White Wines
  • Sweet Oxidized/Nutty Wines
  • Sweet Fortified Red Wines (such as Port)
  • Dry White & Red Wines
  • Dry Nutty/Oxidized Wines
  • Rice Wine

The majority of people generally keep “Sherry Cooking Wine” or “Red Cooking Wine” and perhaps more occasionally, White Cooking Wine. The labels of the red wines are mostly Holland Housereads and the ingredients typically include Wine, Salt, Potassium Metabisulfite (Preservative), and Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

On the other hand, fortified wines include Marsala, Port, Madeira, and sometimes Sherry. These don’t usually contain added preservatives or salt.

Vermouth is also an excellent choice for cooking and helps avoid having to open an entire bottle as you can keep what remains in the fridge. Just like other wines, Vermouth is derived from grapes, and as soon as you open the bottle, it begins to go bad, therefore, it needs refrigeration.


Like all other ingredients that go into your dish, wine is also an ingredient. If the wine is not good enough for drinking, then there is no reason why you would cook with it. If you cook with a low-quality industrial wine, then don’t expect to get a lovely grape flavor – the reason why you are using wine in the first place.