Definition - What does Culinary Wine mean?
Also referred to as “cooking wine”, culinary wines are made as a cheaper alternative for utilizing wine in recipes and to enhance the flavors when cooking different meals. The main differences between culinary wine and wines made for drinking are quality, price, salt content, taste and shelf life. Cooking wine is made of grapes that are different from drinking wine, they are not fermented for alcohol content and contain salt as a preservative increasing the shelf life.
WineFrog explains Culinary Wine
The most popular cooking wines are Sherry, Marsala, Sauternes and Rice Wines, but table wines can also be used for cooking. Red cooking wine is preferred when making dark sauces due to the added texture and volume, but they can also be used when cooking red meat or chicken. White cooking wines and rice wines can be used with white meats, fish and white sauces. Cooking wine can be added at the end of the recipe, because it does not contain alcohol that would need to be evaporated and to allow for a full tasting of the enhanced flavors.
The added salt in cooking wine makes it different from table wine, as the flavor is not influenced by oxidation and can be opened/stored without turning into vinegar. As it is a cheaper alternative to using regular wine for cooking, professionals still do not prefer to use cooking wine due to the lower quality grapes influencing the delicate taste of gourmet meals. Not all recipes that call for wine can use a cooking wine, and when in doubt, it is recommended to use a regular wine as it is easier to control the flavors in food.
Cooking wines can be used in traditional dishes like Chicken Marsala and with meals that call for them specifically; it is useful to reduce the amount of salt added to counteract the amount present in the wine.