The Benefits of Wine Marinades

With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, I know many of you are making plans for special meals with friends and family.  I thought I’d share a quick post about marinating meat & veggies with wine for your upcoming meals.


How to marinate meat with wine

Marinating any meat with wine is pretty simple.  Unwrap your meat, rinse it with water and pat it dry.

Then place your meat in a zip-lock bag or shallow dish.  Pour your wine over the meat, seal the bag or cover the dish, and leave in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Or another option that’s a bit faster: you can pour the wine over the meat and let the meat come closer to room temperature in a bag or dish on your counter top for about 15-30 minutes (as I did with the steelhead trout pictured above).

Whichever option you choose, once your meat has finished marinating, simply discard the wine and cook the meat as you prefer.  For Clyde and I, that usually means that we fire up the charcoal bbq pit, but it’s totally up to you!  Use a gas grill, roast the meat, or saute it!  Just be sure to cook the meat completely so you are on the safe side.


How to marinate vegetables with wine

There are just a few changes in the process for veggies.  I usually like to cut the vegetables into large chunks or thick slices before soaking them in the wine.  I also typically add a few tablespoons of olive oil in with the wine.

Vegetables won’t take as long to soak in the marinade, but you’ll want to let them sit for at least 10 minutes.

Just as with the meat, to cook the marinated veggies, you have options!  Discard the marinade and cook on the grill – direct on the grate if you have large pieces, or package the veggies in a foil pouch to grill if they are cut small enough to fall through the grate.  Add a bit of the marinade to the pouch for some extra steam to help cook the veggies through.

You can broil your marinated vegetables in the oven, or saute them in a large skillet.  Feel free to use some of the wine marinade to help cook those veggies in either of these two options as well!

wine cartoon

Why it’s so good

There are several reasons why it’s good to use wine to marinate your food:

  1. First of all (and in my mind the most important reason), it adds great flavor to your dish.  If you are into wine & food pairing, this is a super easy way to marry the flavors of your food together with the wine you plan on serving.
  2. Second up (and Clyde’s most important reason), the wine will help kill any harmful bacteria that might be present.
  3. When you marinate meat in wine for a longer period of time, the wine will help tenderize the meat.
  4. A wine marinade couldn’t be easier!  Sure, you could add other spices or ingredients to the marinade, but just pouring the wine straight out of the bottle over your food will add lots of flavor without any other effort.  Instant gourmet!
  5. Finally, when you use red wine for a marinade, you add a lovely color to your dish that you wouldn’t otherwise get from other types of marinades.


I hope I’ve convinced you to pour a bit of wine over your food and marinate it this weekend. Let me know what your favorite foods to marinate are in the comments below.  Cheers!