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Fill up at the pump in Italy…..but wine, not gasoline.

Those of us who dream of living in Italy for an extended period of time….which is just about everyone reading this blog I suppose….often wonder what it would really be like.  Not the glossy images of the travel brochures or what we see in the movies, but the day-to-day lifestyle. 

Filling up wine jugs in Italy
Locals bring their empty bottles and jugs or just buy new ones and fill up with great local wines, at a fraction of what the bottled wines cost.

Of course when we imagine life in Italy we think, I suppose, of food and wine.  Most small towns or even mid-sized ones have farmer’s co-ops that offer great bargains and fresh produce.    When it comes to wine, you can get a good bottle of red or white for a decent price.  But what many locals do is bring their empty jugs to the local co-op and just fill them up for a lot less. 

getting wine in Italy
Bring your own bottles and just have them filled for you.

These wines have the nickname “landlord wines” meaning the grapes are locally grown, harvested and fermented. In some cases they appear in restaurants as “vino della casa” or the house wine of the establishment.  For those lucky enough to be staying in private residences you just show up with your 5-liter (1.3 US gallon) jugs and fill them up.  The cost?  About 2 Euros per liter.  For the mathematically inclined that means you get a bottle (750ml) of good table wine for about 1.75 euros or $2.25 U.S.  Don’t have any bottles?  No problem, they will gladly sell you some.

We would imagine the health benefits might even be superior to just about any bottled wine…..not that we are knocking Italian wines, just that the closer you eat or drink to the food source the better in our opinion.  The taste may not impress any “wine snobs” who talk about fruity flavors or bold finish and such,  but for a lot of us on a budget these wines are just great!  

And…this pretty much applies throughout Europe.  Pick just about any country and if you are staying at a local home or inn then chances are the grapes are locally grown.  Many families have their own vineyards and produce enough for their needs and perhaps sell some that is left over.