Not every bottle of wine is finished. House wines get poured and the bottle is either saved for the next day, not my favorite idea, or it can be used for cooking or and this is the key it can be turned into vinegar.
If you are pouring wine in a restaurant or at home and there is a bit of excess turn it into vinegar. Sure, I understand saving the wine for the next evening, but half a glass left in a bottle is well a half a glass of well oxidized wine the next day. Turn the wine into vinegar.
We started with a vinegar mother and a half a glass of wine. From there, more wine and ever growing glass jars contained our vinegar. At first it was nothing, a winy base with slight vinegar notes from the mother. As the alcohol was converted by the acetobacters and into vinegar we became part of the process. We began to use it early with the winy undertones, the flavor was great. When we took some vinegar we added more wine. At first just red, but then we had left over white and dessert wines so they went in the jars.
We now had nurtured a half a glass of wine into an evolving vinegar. I wanted a better home and found vinegar barrels at oakbarrelwinecraft.com. I was lured in by the French oak barrels and got one to house and add to our vinegar.
One type of vinegar was not enough. The next came from a need and inspiration. We used to make maple vinegar by mixing maple syrup with sherry vinegar. Good, but now that we made vinegar we should make a maple vinegar. We did not locate maple wine. Rather we mixed maple syrup with white wine, rum and our every wine vinegar as a base. The active and alive vinegar turned the rum-maple-wine combination into maple vinegar. Here we have the richness of the maple with the underlying notes of the rum with the balanced acidity from natures involvement. And yes we got another barrel.
Heck, now we make vinegar; what else can we convert. Port, yeah ruby port. We began again with some older ruby port and a bit of our every wine vinegar. The conversion took place and we added more port to build the base, and we bought another barrel.
Now we have run out of space, well perhaps I can move a few things around; I have always wanted a Sauternes and Champagne vinegar.
It is not hard to make vinegar, yes we have read a number of books to reaffirm our instincts, but in the end nature will take its own path so we might as well just accept that at the end of the day a rich vinegar is better than a stale glass of wine.
One caveat; make sure your barrel is well seasoned especially in dry climates otherwise as in our kitchen the vinegar finds cracks and crevices as the barrels exterior drys and we get leaks. We actually need to keep them on sheet pans--easier to clean up; a lesson I learned the hard way. Yes I still recommend the barrel.