Although cooking wine and wine for drinking share some added ingredients, they differ in two main ways:
Cooking wine contains salt, which gives foods an overly salty or bitter flavor.
Drinking wine contains more alcohol, which reacts with both heat and certain foods to add complex, deep and new flavors to a dish.
Other ingredients in the two wines sometimes affect flavor and sometimes don’t:
- Yeast and sugar, added to all true wines to jump-start fermentation
- acidic ingredients, added to some true wines
- bentonite, a kind of clay added to some true wines to help filtration
- Sodium metabisulfite, a preservative in both types of wine
- Potassium sorbate, a preservative added to cooking wines
- Food coloring, added to cooking wines for color and not flavor
The added salt in cooking wine gives it a longer shelf life than drinking wine. Cooking wines come with “use by” dates, but are typically good at room temperature for 3 to 4 months. Drinking wine stays fresh for drinking for about 5 days in the refrigerator, but will still work for cooking for 2 months. Click here to order Noble Hill Estate Blend