Does White Wine Vinegar Go Bad

White wine vinegar isn’t one of the condiments people use all the time. More often than not, it sits in storage for weeks or even months untouched. Now, as you were about to use it in a soup or sauce, you noticed that it’s past the date on the label. Does white wine vinegar go bad? It seems to be perfectly fine, but you’re not quite sure if you can use it. And you don’t have a fresh bottle because hardly anyone buys this vinegar on a regular basis. If that’s the case, I think it’s a good time to learn a bit more about storage, shelf life, and going bad of white wine vinegar.

White wine vinegar
Image used under Creative Commons from Sean MacEntee

How To Store White Wine Vinegar

Storing white wine vinegar is quite similar to storing other varieties of vinegar, like its red wine counterpart or apple cider vinegar. The bottle should sit in a cool and dark place, away from sources of heat and light. The pantry is the best choice, but a cabinet in the kitchen works too.

Once you open the bottle, make sure always to keep it sealed tightly. You don’t need to refrigerate white wine vinegar after opening the bottle. Also, there’s no alcohol in the bottle because the alcohol was converted to vinegar by fermentation.

How Long Does White Wine Vinegar Last

Like with other vinegars, the white wine variety lasts pretty much indefinitely. It’s a highly acidic product, which makes it almost impossible for bacteria or fungi to grow in. Hence it doesn’t go bad. Of course, some producers put a best-by date on the label, but that’s more of a formality than an actual date you should stick to. Like other kinds of vinegar, the white wine one might slightly degrade in quality over time. That means that after storing a half-open bottle for a decade, the flavor of this condiment might not be as good as it was after opening the bottle.

White wine vinegar (unopened or opened) Stays fine indefinitely

Does White Wine Vinegar Go Bad?

Before we talk about spoilage of vinegar, let’s talk briefly about the mother of vinegar. Mother of vinegar is a substance used in the production of vinegar. It’s harmless and safe to consume. If the label of your vinegar says it’s filtered or pasteurized, the liquid doesn’t container the mother. If it says that it’s raw, in most cases, the vinegar mother is in the bottle. No matter if the mother is in the liquid to begin with, it might start to form over time on its own after you open the bottle. So if there are some large jelly-like discs or some cloudy (or slimy) sediment at the bottom of the bottle, that’s the mother. You can either use it or filter it out using a coffee filter. Again, the presence of the mother is completely natural and the condiment isn’t bad by any means. It’s only somewhat visually unappealing or simply put: gross.

Now to the actual going bad of white wine vinegar. Like other vinegars, going bad of this kind isn’t likely to happen. However, if you noticed that its color has changed or it smells off, throw it away. Same thing if you see anything unusual inside the bottle that isn’t the mother. If you don’t remember when was the last time you used this condiment, give it a taste before using. If the flavor is good enough and it tastes fresh, feel free to continue using it. Otherwise, it means it’s past its prime, and you should discard it.