Mind Your Mother: Start Homemade Wine Vinegar for a Classic Vinaigrette


Homemade Red Wine Vinegar Jars

I’ve been making my own vinegar since 2008, ever since I met up with some food blogging friends at our local farmer’s market and was handed a small plastic bag that contained a blob of something that looked like a piece of pale liver. My friend told me to just add any leftover wine I might have to it and in a couple weeks, I'd have wine vinegar!

It was mother of vinegar, or mère de vinaigre, as it is called in France. Mother of vinegar is a substance composed of a form of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids. It is similar to a SCOBY, or the Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast used to grow kombucha, but the acidity in vinegar kills off the yeast that is a part of a kombucha SCOBY.

I raced home from the farmer’s market and put “Mom” in a half-gallon canning jar topped with a piece of cheesecloth and then opened a bottle of wine. It felt a little bit odd (but not unheard of) to start drinking at 10:30 AM on a Saturday, but I had to do it for Mom. I poured her some in her crock, and poured myself a glass. Why not? Cheers! Now, whenever I open a bottle, I always make sure to pour Mom a glass, too.

If you don’t have a friend to give you some vinegar mother, you can use any brand of natural apple cider vinegar (such as Braggs) that contains the mother.

I use my homegrown vinegar for cooking, including my famous vinaigrette (recipe below). You can use this vinegar just like you use all other wine or cider vinegars, except for canning. Canning requires a consistent acidification. Homegrown will likely vary, so it’s not safe for canning.

4/28/2020 11:28:50 AM

What a cool thing. I had no idea you could make your own. Thanks for posting this.

4/27/2020 7:01:00 PM

Your vinaigrette sounds great. I make one pretty similar though I use dijon mustard in it not dried. I haven't made my own vinegar but your post is inspiring. Maybe I'll give it a try. Here's to Mom.

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