Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The wine filling stations

Some people believe you can tell a great wine from the shape of the bottle. But throwing that theory well and truly out of the window are a few of Italy’s favourite wine-sellers. Rather than creating and managing their own expensive bottling facilities, some Italian wineries simply send a whole barrel to the stores, who attach it to a pump.

Customers are then free to bring any container they choose to the store and have it filled by the shop-keeper, who keeps a watchful eye on the gauge that tells them how much they’ve poured. So if you’re ever eating at an Italian’s house, don’t be too alarmed if the delicious wine you’re drinking is poured from a watering can, plastic gallon container or even an antique vase ­– it just means the vessel it’s served from has as much character as the wine.