Wine 101: Wine Hacks

As someone who not only writes about, but works in the wine industry, there are certain wine-related tips and tricks that are second nature to me. It’s when I’ll mention them as matter of fact anecdotes that I realize, oh yeah, I guess that’s not something everyone would automatically know. In the spirit of that, here are three wine hacks that are good to know.

Leftover Wine

Granted, having a bottle go unfinished isn’t something that happens around my home that often, but when it does occur – I have a plan. I’m always in need of wine to cook with, and I’m a firm believer in “If you wouldn’t drink it, you shouldn’t eat it.” I’m not gonna go out and buy super-cheap, crappy wine to cook with, but I don’t always want to use some from a fresh bottle I’m about to enjoy. This is where leftover wine comes in. If you know you’re not going to polish off that bottle, simply pour the remnants into an ice cube tray, then freeze. Next time you need wine for cooking, just pop out a cube or two!

Chilled Wine

Need to get your white wine or sparkling cold in a hurry? Sure, the freezer works well – but an even faster option is to plunge the bottle in a bucket full of ice and water. The extra trick you should know is to also throw in a small handful of salt; it’ll chill your bottle even faster. “But wait,” ask many a Canadian, “Doesn’t salt melt ice? How would that make things colder?” Here’s a good explanation of the science.

Awful Wine

Receive a horrible wine as a gift, or accidentally purchase one yourself? There’s always the Sangria option. Here are five recipes for various-coloured versions. If you want an even quicker fix, and this really only works with too-sweet whites or reds, try splashing a couple drops of bitters in your glass. Hey, if you have a better bottle kickin’ around, by all means open that. But in dire emergencies, this could be a good enough save.


Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.