does red wine vinegar need to be refrigerated

Once opened, red wine vinegar needs to be refrigerated. This is how it can retain its color and flavor.

Red wine vinegar is made using red wine grapes which have soured or gone bad. As the sugar in the grapes gets consumed by the yeast, acetic acid forms. This acetic acid is the ingredient that gives vinegar its recognizable taste and sharp flavors.

So in essence, red wine vinegar is red wine gone bad or sour. For better quality, it is made using wood casks which give the red wine vinegar a nice flavor.

Although it is already sour grapes, if not stored properly after opening, red wine vinegar can still disintegrate further. When exposed to air for lengthy periods, vinegar becomes susceptible to evaporation which can lead loss of flavor.

How To Refrigerate Red Wine Vinegar

Vinegar’s natural acidity offer inbuilt antibacterial properties, but once you open the container, it must be refrigerated if it is to retain its quality. To further maximize red wine vinegar’s shelf life, the bottle must be kept tightly sealed once opened.

When stored in a cool, dark place, red wine vinegar will keep for between 2 and 3 months but when stored in the refrigerator it can last up to 8 months.

Best Practices For Refrigerating

Once opened, your red wine vinegar bottle should immediately be refrigerated. This helps in extending its life.

This can be done following these 4 simple steps:

Step #1: The red wine vinegar container should be made from either glass or ceramic. It shouldn’t have any metal content because vinegar naturally reacts with metal causing corrosion.

Step #2: Of great importance is that the lid or stopper should be very tight so that no air enters into the bottle to cause evaporation.

Step #3: Clearly mark the storage date on the bottle so that it reminds you of the use by date.

Step #4: Your red wine vinegar container or bottle should be stored in the refrigerator. The best next alternative in case your wine bottle is perhaps too tall to fit inside your refrigerator is in a dark, cool cabinet.

How Can You Tell Red Wine Vinegar Has Gone Bad?

Red wine vinegar does go bad.  Once it gets exposed to air, red wine vinegar can evaporate and also lose its flavor. In cases where it has been stored in a warm location, your red wine vinegar may begin to cook and can change into a brownish color. 

If stored for too long or improperly, it’s likely to have a cloudy look. It may also have an unpleasant smell. The cork can at times become wet and start developing a mold. This can seep into your wine causing the quality to deteriorate, further giving it a bad smelling odor.


When handled well, red wine vinegar should last for years. This means keeping it out of direct light with the seal intact. So long as it’s placed in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place, it stays good and will serve you for the longest time.