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The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar

One of the most widely used ingredients in cooking is red wine vinegar.

This vinegar comes from fermenting and aging red wine in wooden barrels.

The result is a vinegar that tastes slightly sour or acidic with a fruity taste.

It has an attractive dark red color that enhances the overall appearance of foods when added as a dressing.

Although typically used in cooking, red wine vinegar is also an important part of the table vinegar set.

However, with increasing concerns about health and wellness through diet, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the taste of foods without losing their nutritional value by using healthy recipes and substitutes in place of some ingredients.

Nevertheless, if you are trying to make a salad dressing without using red wine vinegar or looking for healthy recipes that do not contain red wine vinegar, here are five healthy alternatives to red wine vinegar that will make your recipes taste just as good.

What is Red Wine Vinegar?

what is red wine vinegar

As well as being an important ingredient in many cuisines, vinegar is one of the oldest flavoring agents known to man.

It is derived from fermented alcoholic beverages, including wine, cider, beer, and distilled alcohol.

This means that you are already familiar with at least one form of vinegar – apple cider vinegar – which was first made around 5000 years ago.

Red wine vinegar comes from the fermentation of red grape juice and has a tart, fruity taste.

This type of vinegar is commonly used in salads and marinades, such as dressings such as balsamic vinaigrette.

In terms of taste, red wine vinegar can be described as having acidic and sweet notes with a less intense sharpness than white or cider vinegar.

The main producers of red wine vinegar are Italy, made in Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Bologna under strict regulations.

California is another major producer with notable brands including ‘Lucini’, ‘Bertolli’ and ‘Andrea’.

Aromatized red wine vinegar is also available.

These have been infused with cloves, blackberries, garlic, and chilies.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar

For cooks who want to substitute red wine vinegar in a recipe, here’s a list of the best substitutes:

1 – Cider Vinegar

cider vinegar

Another great vinegar substitute for red wine vinegar is apple cider.

This vinegar can be used in salads and marinades, such as dressings like balsamic vinaigrette.

Apple cider has a sweeter taste than other vinegar because it naturally contains sugar during fermentation.

It may also contain potassium sorbate, which is a food preservative.

Apple cider vinegar can be substituted in any recipe that calls for red wine vinegar.

When substituting apple cider vinegar for red wine vinegar, keep in mind that it has a different taste because of its ‘sweetness’.

It’s also best to use less than the recipe calls for.

2 – White Wine Vinegar

white wine vinegar

In terms of taste, white wine vinegar can be described as being tart.

It has a smooth and sharp flavor.

In addition, it is one of the most popular varieties of vinegar alongside apple cider vinegar.

You can also find balsamic vinegar for sale on Amazon.

White wine vinegar was first produced in France and the United States.

It is also available in Italy and Germany.

White wine vinegar is made from white grape juice fermented for a short period until it turns into vinegar.

Glucose and fructose molecules combine with bacteria to create acetic acid during this process.

This change occurs because yeast changes sugar into alcohol through fermentation.

3 – Sherry Vinegar

sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar is a type of wine vinegar from Jerez, Southern Spain.

It’s made by fermenting sherry wine.

Therefore, it can have a sweeter taste than other vinegar varieties because the fermentation process changes the sugar into alcohol.

In addition, it has a dark brown color.

Sherry vinegar can be substituted in any recipe that calls for red wine vinegar.

Use less sherry vinegar than the red wine vinegar called for to substitute.

This type of vinegar has a sweeter taste than other vinegar varieties and is considered one of the best substitutes for red wine vinegar.

4 – White Distilled Vinegar

white distilled vinegar

White distilled vinegar is made by distilling alcohol into acetic acid.

It’s an inexpensive vinegar, making it a common choice for many people.

This type of wine can be used in recipes that call for red wine vinegar.

However, its taste is considered less intense compared to other wines.

White distilled vinegar is different from the other substitutes mentioned because it is made with alcohol.

However, this wine can be used in recipes that call for red wine vinegar, like salad dressings.

Its taste is considered less pungent compared to other wines.

5 – Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is made from unfermented juice, called ‘must’, of Trebbiano grapes.

It’s then fermented for a long period and aged in wooden casks.

The result is a rich and dark-brown vinegar that has a sweet flavor.

When using balsamic vinegar in place of red wine vinegar, be mindful that it has a sweeter flavor than other types of red wine vinegar.

This vinegar is best used when making salads and salad dressings, like Italian dressing or vinaigrette.

You can also use it in sauces, like in stir fry.

Keep in mind that the taste of balsamic vinegar is sweeter than other types of red wine vinegar.


All in all, when using red wine vinegar in your recipe, it is important to know that there are other wines out there that can be substituted in.

Each wine has a different taste, so keep this in mind when making your food.

If you are looking for an alternative to red wine vinegar, try cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or sherry vinegar.

Remember that all of these wines can be used in any recipe that calls for red wine vinegar.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Cider Vinegar
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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