The numbers don’t lie—our obsession with wine is real—but the benefits of this magical elixir go well beyond consumption. From anti-aging treatments to home décor, wine and old wine bottles can come in handy in nearly every part of life. Here are 12 unexpected ways you can benefit from your next bottle.
1. FRUIT FLY TRAPS
As summer fills the air, so do gnats and fruit flies. But fear not—it's wine to the rescue! Flies are attracted to wine's fermented smell; a quick DIY trap (pouring wine in a bowl or mug and placing it in the infested areas) will attract then kill those pests.
2. SKIN REJUVENATION
Fermented grapes (wine's core ingredient) have powerful anti-aging properties that fight wrinkles, treat sun damage and restore collagen, improving the skin’s overall appearance. Add a glass of red wine to your next soak in the tub (not counting the glass you drink during said soak, of course) or splash it on your face for a quick skin-firming mask. Double bonus: It’s also known to soften skin.
3. DIY FERTILIZER
Wine isn’t just for humans; plants love it, too. If you want to show up your green-thumb neighbors, grab a Malbec or Merlot and a compost bin to create your very own fertilizer. Red wine activates bacteria in compost that transforms it from trash into highly effective fertilizer.
4. RED WINE STAIN REMOVER
Nothing's worse than spilling red wine on your carpet or a favorite shirt, but—in a counterintuitive turn of events—a delicious white can actually remove the stain. White wine absorbs the red wine color after just a few minutes, and once dabbed up, can remove the stain entirely.
5. FRUITS AND VEGGIES CLEANER
According to a study from Oregon State University, the alcohol in white wine can kill nasty food-borne pathogens like salmonella and E-coli. Douse your produce with old wine instead of water to fully clean fruits and veggies. Bonus tip: White wine is also a great kitchen disinfectant, and can remove tough grease and oil stains in the garage or driveway.
6. WHIP UP WINE JELLY
Wine slushies were so 2016; this summer, try your hand at wine jelly. Combine sugar, liquid pectin and your favorite two-day-old wine to make some grown-up spreads. For an extra splash of class, throw in strawberries or blueberries (especially if you're using a white or champagne). To get started, try this wine jelly recipe from Food.com.
7. HOMEMADE VINEGAR
As wine ages, it slowly transitions from delicious drink to rancid vinegar. Sure, it may not smell great, but leaving a bottle (3/4 full or less) out for a few weeks will turn your old, unusable wine into—voila!—a homemade bottle of vinegar.
8. HEALTHY MEAT MARINADE
Yes, we all know red wine is good for you (in moderation, of course), but did you know it can actually improve the healthiness of your meat? Marinating steak or pork in red wine for at least six hours can reduce the carcinogens caused by grilling and frying. More of a beer lover? Newer research shows beer is a carcinogen-reducing marinade, too.
9. A TALL BOOTS FIX
Is your closet full of toppled-over boots? Grab those wine bottles for a DIY fix. After cleaning your bottle thoroughly, place it in the calf section of your tall boots to keep them upright and tidy.
10. HOMEMADE BOOK ENDS
Fill an empty, clean bottle of wine with sand from your recent travels, then use it as a sturdy bookend for a nostalgic decoration. Not only will you remember a favorite getaway every time you grab a book, you'll equally reminisce about that delicious wine of yesteryear.
11. SALAD DRESSING CANISTERS
Instead of the store-bought plastic salad dressing containers, add some pizzazz to your next dinner party by using a cleaned out, label removed wine bottle as your salad dressing canister. Whether it's homemade or from the store, your wine-bottled dressing will look perfectly posh.
12. WINE BOTTLE LAMPS
Relive the memory of your favorite vino day in, day out by turning that bottle into a lamp. While it may feel more (wo)man cave than dining room appropriate, a simple DIY lamp kit will add new life—and light—to your most cherished bottles.