Common Uses For Wine In Cooking
Don't Select A Wine You Wouldn't Drink You've probably read "never use a wine in cooking that you would not drink". This advice includes the use of cooking wines. Cooking wines have added salt and are not particularly high in quality so don't bother using them -- select a good drinking wine instead. Good does not necessarily mean expensive. Again, consult with your local wine shop if you don't already have your favorites.
What If You Don't Like Wine Depending on the recipe, sometimes you can just leave the wine out, substitute some lemon juice, apple cider, chicken stock, water, or vinegar. You can click this link to view a complete list of substitutions for alcohol in cooking.
Beware Of Substituting Red Wines For Whites If you happen to prefer red wines and your recipe calls for a white wine, tread carefully. Red wines (great in the right recipe) can be horribly overpowering and will also darken the color of the food which may not be desirable.
Cook With What You Will Be Serving Many chefs suggest that you use the same wine in your recipe that you will be serving with the meal. This can add a subtle consistency of flavors throughout the dining experience.
If possible you can ask your guests ahead of time if they will eat food prepared with alcohol. If asking is not possible then just know that when cooking for guests that abstain from alcohol use it would be most respectful to always leave the alcohol out and don't' take chances with other peoples' life choices.
Source USDA Food Composition Data
One benefit of dealcoholized wines (if you do like them) is that they can be frozen in ice cube trays and used as needed.
For a basic reduction simply boil 1 cup of red or white wine in a small sauce pan and reduce it down to 1/3 cup.
When using this concentrated wine use about 1/3 of the amount called for in your recipe.