White wine vinegar is a sweet, slightly fruity distillation made from fermented white wine. White vinegar is made from grain alcohol, which is made from fermented grain. In contrast to white vinegar, the fruitier white wine vinegar tastes like fermented white grapes.
White vinegar is sour. When using white vinegar as a sour or as an acidic preservative, the acidic properties of the solution are usually 4%–7% in strength.
Both white wine vinegar and white vinegar have their purpose in cooking, and white wine vinegar doubles as a cleaning solution.
Comparison Chart: Is White Wine Vinegar the Same as White Vinegar?
White Wine Vinegar
|Introduction||Made from fermented white wine, retaining the taste of grapes||Created by fermenting grains and extracting alcohol during fermentation|
|How is it made?||White wine is fermented, then oxidized, and finally bottled||Grain alcohol is enriched with oxygen, which stimulates bacterial growth, further fermenting the alcohol before being mixed with distilled water to create a 5%–7% acidic white vinegar solution|
|What is it made from?||White wine is fermented and filtered with oxygen to make acetic acid, which makes the wine sour||Grains are fermented to produce ethanol, which is what microorganisms live off of. The resulting acetic acid produces the sour, white vinegar taste|
|What is it used for?||Vinaigrettes and cooking||Pickling, cooking, and cleaning|
|Can it be exchanged for something else? What?||Yes. Red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar||Yes. Lemon juice, malt vinegar, and apple cider vinegar|
White Wine Vinegar Explained
White wine vinegar is a clear acidic liquid. It is common in salad vinaigrettes, poached meat, and as a flavor enhancer in broths.
The main ingredient of white wine vinegar is white grapes. White wine vinegar, then, is made in a similar way to white vinegar. To make white wine vinegar, allow white wine to continue fermenting until it has reached the required acidic levels for vinegar (usually 6%–7%).
High-quality white wine vinegar is naturally aged in wood barrels and casks. Cheaper varieties of white wine vinegar are produced by fermenting white wine with beechwood shavings soaked in its grain-cousin, white vinegar. As a result, a more inexpensive white wine vinegar has a tart taste, while better quality white wine vinegar has a mellow, fruity flavor.
Uses of White Wine Vinegar
There are many uses for white wine vinegar, from a complimentary ingredient in salad dressings to desserts and main dishes. White wine vinegar can be used to poach oysters too.
White Wine Vinegar Poached Oysters
- 2.75 ounces butter (unsalted)
- 1 medium shallot, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bay leaf (whole)
- One large glass of white wine (a third of an ounce)
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 6 oysters, shucked, juices reserved
- In a large pan, melt the butter, adding the sliced shallot, clove, and bay leaf. Sauté until golden-brown
- Add the white wine, white wine vinegar, and oyster juices. Cook for 1–2 minutes
- Add the oysters while stirring gently
- Poach the oysters in the liquids for 1–2 minutes or until the oysters are warmed in their center
- Serve on a bed of sauteed baby spinach and parsley
History of White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar is perhaps one of the oldest types of vinegar, historically preceding regular white vinegar in use. There is evidence that the early Babylonians brewed vinegar from alcoholic beverages as many as 3,000 years ago. Vinegar derives from the French word for sour wine (vinaigrette).
White wine vinegar used to be quite expensive and only high-end retailers or boutique wineries sold it. Today, there are many different qualities of white wine vinegar sold worldwide.
Traditional wood barrel processes that can take as much as a year produce a high-quality, mellow white wine vinegar, but today lesser-quality white vinegar is more quickly and cheaply produced due to the new technology that speeds up fermentation processes.
Cost of White Wine Vinegar
The price of a bottle of white wine vinegar can range from a few dollars to $30 for 8 ounces. It can easily be found at online retailers and boutique gourmet and foodie shops. Travelers can also purchase specialty and flavored white wine vinegar from wineries worldwide.
Health and Nutritional Information
White wine vinegar is a great health booster. Like white wine, white wine vinegar reduces blood pressure, helps with weight loss, is rich in antioxidants (which boosts anti-aging properties), and aids digestion.
Nutritional values for white wine vinegar vary depending on the ingredients and fermentation processes used. However, white wine vinegar is rich in carbohydrates, containing sugar at 7% of the recommended daily intake. White wine vinegar, then, isn’t suitable for people with diabetes and those suffering from low blood pressure because it lowers blood pressure.
White Vinegar Explained
White vinegar is a cheap form of vinegar made from the fermentation of starchy grains. The fermented liquid is similar to vodka, and vinegar results when oxygen is bubbled through the liquid, and fermentation results, creating a bacterial environment and producing acetic acid (white vinegar’s tart flavor).
The resulting acetic acid is mixed with distilled water in a ratio of 4%–7% acid to 96%–93% water, resulting in distilled white vinegar. White vinegar is described as tart without a quantifiable flavor profile.
Uses of White Vinegar
White vinegar is often used in pickling, baking, and making sauces. It is also an ingredient in several household cleaning solutions and body products, including insect repellent and oil-based stain remover. White vinegar evaporates well, so cleaning areas with white vinegar leaves no residue.
The following recipes and cooking methods call for white vinegar:
Vinegar is combined with spices and sugar to preserve many varieties of vegetables and fruit.
Making preserves at home is a simple process.
- 16–18 ounces of white vinegar
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 2.5 pounds of favorite fruit
- In a pot over medium heat combine white vinegar with white sugar and fruit
- Bring to a boil, stirring continuously as fruit releases juices and sugar melts
- When fruit mixture begins to boil, reduce to a low simmer and continue stirring until fruit is cooked through
- After the fruit becomes softly cooked, decant the fruit and its sauces into a bottle, topping off the preserve with any extra vinegar or sugar syrup
- Gently swirl or shake the bottle to mix, and seal tightly
- Store in the fridge for up to three months and enjoy as a condiment
Marinades, sauces, and salad dressings
While white vinegar is flavor-neutral, it activates other flavors, making it a great complement to sauces and dressings. In addition, as a marinade, white vinegar helps soften and tenderize meat and vegetable dishes.
To use white vinegar in a marinade, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every cup of marinade.
Combined with baking soda at a general ratio of two teaspoons to five ounces of white vinegar, white vinegar produces carbon dioxide. The combination of these two ingredients leavens baked goods and aids in the raising of cake dough.
Mixing milk and white vinegar is one way to make your own cheese.
- 1 gallon full-fat milk
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Place the milk in a large pot on a stove. Bring to 195℉ or just-under boiling
- When the milk reaches just-below boiling point, remove from the stove immediately and add the vinegar to the milk. Stir well and allow to cool for 10 minutes
- Line a colander with a kitchen towel. Stir the salt into the cooled milk and vinegar mixture and strain through the towel
- Discard the yellowish whey liquid that passes through the towel, leaving the white solids (the cheese) to drain for an hour in the colander. Once the cheese has cooled form it into a ball, and wrap in clear plastic wrap for up to one week. Use as store-bought cheese
History of White Vinegar
White vinegar is one of the oldest fermented substances known to man. Christ was offered vinegar on the cross, and early Roman legionnaires carried vinegar into battle with them. White vinegar is a sanitizer, so cleaning infected wounds with vinegar became an early practice.
Historically, grain vinegar or white vinegar was known as poor man’s wine or posca. Today, non-vinegar alternatives do not involve the traditional fermentation process that first produces grain-alcohol, which is integral to white vinegar. Instead, these alternatives use wood chips, which produce the important acetic acid when distilled. The result is a sour liquid that is tart but has none of the sugary features of white vinegar.
Cost of White Vinegar
Order white vinegar from online retailers at about $10 per gallon. Higher-quality white vinegar—made from quality grain fermentation processes—may cost significantly more, though not as much as quality white wine vinegar.
Health and Nutritional Information
White vinegar has many health benefits. Using it as a supplement can help reduce blood pressure, suppress cravings, and lead to weight loss. There are also early indications that white vinegar may help lower cholesterol levels.
One teaspoon of white vinegar contains as little as 2.7 calories. Other nutritional elements present in white vinegar include:
- Sodium – 0.3 mg
- Potassium – 0.3 mg
- Calcium – 0.01% of the recommended daily intake
Choosing White Wine Vinegar vs. White Vinegar
Vinegar is a handy condiment in any kitchen. White wine vinegar has more nutritional value than white vinegar, but white vinegar doubles as an excellent general-purpose cleaner. The primary difference between the two are their ingredients. Grain alcohol makes white vinegar, and white wine vinegar is made from fermenting white grapes into wine then oxidizing the wine to its vinegar state.
White wine vinegar and white vinegar are not the same. Do not substitute white wine vinegar with white vinegar in recipes, as the results will not be satisfying. White wine vinegar is flavor-filled, while white vinegar has a neutral taste. White vinegar is tart and will likely spoil a recipe that requires white wine vinegar.
The best substitutions for white wine vinegar are red wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Substituting white wine vinegar is tricky due to its unique flavor.
The best substitution for white vinegar is lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to reduce tartness.