You might be new to cooking with wine and asking yourself why people do this rather than drink it! Well, adding wine to food brings out the flavors that would otherwise stay hidden, as well as imparting its own aroma and taste.

If this is something you’re feeling a bit nervous about, then these easy tips will help you on your way to a whole new culinary experience.

You can use cooking wines, but you should be aware that these already have salt and other additives in, so use less salt than your recipe asks for to balance things out.

You don’t need an expensive wine, but you shouldn’t go too cheap either, as cooking intensifies the wine’s flavors and so anything harsh or unpleasant will come to the fore. If in doubt, use a wine that you drink regularly and enjoy.

Unless, that is, your favourite wine has a particularly dominant characteristic, like being very fruity or sour. This quality will over-emphasised after cooking.

Once you’ve added a slosh of wine, let your dish simmer for ten minutes or so before testing. Wine needs time to do its thing, so if you add some and test immediately, you’ll be fooled into adding more and the results may not be great.

You also shouldn’t add wine at the end of cooking for the same reason – it needs to simmer and blend with your food and making it a late addition can mean a harsh and overly alcoholic taste.

If you see a recipe that asks for Champagne, don’t expect the bubbles to last! The Champagne is there for the drama, rather than for actual results. If you’re all out of fizz, try a very dry, acidic white instead.

If you’re cooking with wine, avoid using aluminium or cast iron pans or cookware aa the acids in the wine can react with these metals. This can cause discoloration in your pan, as well as an odd taste and leached metals in your food.