Made by fermenting red wine in large crocks from anywhere from two months to two years, red wine vinegar is fruity and tangy. A spoonful or two can bring balance to sauces or perk up a lifeless gravy or stew. When you run out of red wine vinegar, several other vinegars can save the day.
White Wine Vinegar
Favored by French cooks, white wine vinegar is remarkably similar to red wine vinegar in taste and acidity. Both vinegars are used in vinaigrettes, sauces, stews and marinades. You can substitute white wine vinegar in most recipes that call for red wine vinegar with little to no adjustment.
Rice Wine Vinegar
You can substitute rice wine vinegar for red wine vinegar; however, you may need to increase the amount of vinegar used. Red wine vinegar is extremely acidic and bold, while rice wine vinegar is less assertive and more mellow. There is no concrete formula for substitutions; just adjust the amount of vinegar to taste.
A favorite of Italian chefs, balsamic vinegar makes a fair substitute for red wine vinegar, but it is sweeter and milder than red wine vinegar. If your recipe calls for a sweetener like sugar or honey, decrease the amount of sweetener and add the same amount of balsamic vinegar as you would red wine vinegar.
The Spanish equivalent to balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar can pinch hit in recipes that call for red wine vinegar. However, as with balsamic vinegar, the amount of sweeteners in your recipe will need to be reduced if you substitute it for red wine vinegar.