red plums stewed in leftover wine

What do you do with leftover wine? Occasionally I open a bottle for myself when I am not entertaining, but often I only drink a glass and a half. I own a wine saver pump, which keeps the oxygen out and let’s me enjoy the rest the following day. But what about those days when you have half-full (you see, I’m an optimist) bottles of wine left over after a party?! You might not be in the mood to have more wine and it’s not exactly very tempting to have the leftovers if the bottles have been standing around uncorked.


I actually have a few people close to me who enjoy good food, but frequently surprise me (or maybe I should say: shock me!) when they cheerfully offer me a wine that we opened together 2-3 months ago: “Hey, I still have the wine we had last time you came ‘round we could continue drinking that for dinner.” Unbelievable! Time and again I gently explain that this is wine and not a liquor.

I vowed to myself that I won’t leave someone with leftover wine, but turn it into a delicious dish before I go. The identity of the people won’t be disclosed here because I don’t want to shame or ridicule anybody. So last time I was about to leave one of those dearly loved wine philistines I convinced them that the red wine from last night better be turned into a compote. I saw some red plums and organic orange in a fruit bowl in their kitchen and thought: bingo! I halved and pitted the plums, shaved a long strip off the orange, cooked them with the red wine, sugar, some water and a bayleaf until tender but not mushy. The person I made this compote for was sceptical, but three hours later when I was on the train home I was happy to receive a text saying: Oh god, that plum and red wine compote is DELICIOUS! I enjoyed it with yogurt. You have to make this AGAIN!

If you have white wine or rosé leftover, feel free to pair that with fruit and other herbs or spices of your choice. I cannot give exact quantities here, since it will depend on the amount of wine you have leftover, this is a rough estimate based on a half a bottle of wine. Enjoy on its own, as a topping for pancakes, rice pudding or ice cream.

  • ca. 375 ml of red wine

  • 4-5 red plums, halved and pitted

  • skin of one organic orange, thinly shaved off with a vegetable peeler

  • half a cup of caster sugar

  • 1 bay leaf

Put the plums into a small saucepan, add the sugar, bay leaf and orange peel and pour over the wine. If the plums are not fully covered, add a bit of water. Bring to simmer and cook gently for 5-8 minutes until soft. They shouldn’t turn mushy. Remove from the heat and let cool. Remove the orange peel and bayleaf before serving.