The kitchen can truly be a magical place. It’s where family and friends come together to create meals that are true works of art. In saying that, you can create a true masterpiece by adding wine to certain dishes. Now, that doesn’t mean you can just throw in a splash of your favourite bottle of Niagara’s finest anywhere you please. Cooking with wine takes finesse. Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to cook with wine. Maybe you’ll find a new spin on your favourite recipe!

Why Cook with Wine?

Using wine in a recipe can bring new flavours to light. Once you know how to use wine correctly in the kitchen, you’ll probably find yourself reaching for a bottle of vino rather than water, lemon or vinegar.

Adding wine to a dish can enhance the acidity and boost the flavours. As a general rule of thumb, you should never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink yourself. If you don’t enjoy the flavour on its own, adding it to a dish probably isn’t going to make it any better.

Which Wine Should I Use?

No matter what kind of wine you’re using, whether it be red, white or rosé, you should always aim for a young, fruity wine. While cooking with white wine, aim for a bottle of something dry with a higher level of acidity.

Use any of the following wines in chicken, sautéed fish, pork and mushroom-based dishes:

  • Pinot gris
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Pinot blanc
  • Sémillion
  • Pinot grigio
  • Dry sparkling wine

If you’re planning to cook with a red wine, you should aim for a dry bottle of red with modest tannins. The acidity in a young bottle of red will help add a burst of flavour to your dish, especially with the delicious taste of berries. You should avoid full-bodied reds, such as Cabernet, Barolos and Syrah’s, as they can leave a chalky texture and taste.

Add one of the following red wines to your next tomato sauce, slow-cooked stew, or lamb, beef, chicken or duck dish:

  • Light cabernet
  • Sangiovese
  • Pinot noir
  • Merlot

You can even use wine while cooking desserts! Sherry is great for baked goods, as it can help lighten up cakes and add flavours that compliment the entire dish!

Tips & Tricks for Cooking with Wine

Here are some of the best tips and tricks to keep in mind while cooking with wine.

Add in the Beginning

The trick to cooking with wine is that you want to burn off some of the alcohol. If you add the wine too late during the cooking process, chances are you’ll notice an intense raw-wine flavour that takes over the entire dish.

Quantity Control

You should always use just the right amount of wine. Too little, and the wine won’t do the dish any favours. Too much, and the dish could possibly have an overwhelming smell and taste of wine.

Substitute for Water

Wine can act as a substitute for water in many recipes. Usually in stews, soups, sauces, and gravies.


For extra flavour, marinate your meat and vegetables with wine before you cook them.


The joy of cooking with wine is that you can explore different combinations. It’s an acceptable way to play with your food!

Drink & Enjoy!

Don’t just use the wine to cook the food, enjoy a glass while you’re cooking or with dinner! A great bottle of wine is meant to be enjoyed, regardless of if you’re cooking with it or sharing a glass with a loved one.

For more wine tips and tricks or information, visit the Niagara Vintage Wine Tours blog! We always stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Or, if you’re looking for a new favourite bottle of wine to cook with, book a Niagara wine tour! At Niagara Vintage Wine Tours, we’re proud to be the #1 rated Niagara wine tour company as reviewed on TripAdvisor!