I have a small indoor garden. Unfortunately, I also have a dozen liters of spoiled wine. Intuitively, I think watering edibles with wine will be beneficial for them, as the wine carries already dissolved organic material. However, I am beginning to worry about a possible acidity change in the soil. Maybe also other factors, that I haven't considered exist as well.

Is it a good idea to water edibles with spoiled wine? (bonus question: what about coffee residue?)

  • How is it spoiled?
    – baka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:00
  • It stayed at a warm place in contact with air (drunk part of the bottle and there was air for the rest). It doesn't taste or smell good.
    – Vorac
    Jun 17, 2012 at 5:52
  • 2
    Spoiled wine = Vinegar. A recommended organic herbicide... Alcohol around roots probably as bad. Jun 2, 2014 at 16:08

3 Answers 3


Spoiled wine is sometimes converted to vinegar through spoilage. Vinegar is a herbicide. If it's not vinegar and simply "off" tasting, it will still contain between 10-18% alcohol by volume, and alcohol is also a herbicide. So, no, don't put poison on your plants.

  • 1
    Sound words. Just a little follow-up: what about putting the wine in the compost barrel? It would stay there for approximately ten months. I guess it will be still a "no" but discussion gives birth to truth. :)
    – Vorac
    Jun 15, 2012 at 12:29
  • 3
    Vinegar is a wonderful substance - it's anti-microbial and an excellent disinfectant (as is alcohol.) It will not help the little beasties turning your vegetable matter into compost. If you don't want to waste the wine, get some vinegar "mother" culture from the homebrew store, and turn it into full-strength vinegar you can use for organic garden pest and weed control. Jun 15, 2012 at 12:34

When wine goes off, it literally "turns to vinegar". The ethanol becomes ethanoic acid (=acetic acid or vinegar).

Ethanoic acid is relatively "weak" (acidity depends on the concentration, reactivity, and ease that it disassociates the H+ ion - my "weak" refers to the latter two properties).

Although a glass of bad wine at a party might be okay with a resilient house plant in a big pot, I would not make a habit of it. "Dozen litres" is a lot.

Beds and compost heaps, being larger, and getting water from elsewhere should not be such an acute problem. I would not use the wine for watering though.


One should not feed animals or plants with spoiled anything, including wine. Coffee grounds - yes. Leftover wine, yes - I do it all the time. I own a wine store and my Anthurium is spectacular year after year. It gives me about 40 flowers that bloom from fall to spring.

  • 4
    How much do you give the plant at a time, and how frequently?
    – J. Musser
    Oct 1, 2015 at 1:31
  • Anthurium alcoholicum ^_^
    – Stephie
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:13
  • 1
    So people know when not to use it, at what point does leftover wine become spoiled wine? Thanks!
    – Niall C.
    Oct 1, 2015 at 17:57

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