I had been in Italy at least a year and a half before I discovered that there are wine stores similar to our growler* (beer) refill pubs. (*if you are a non-American native speaker of English, a growler is a large, refillable container – 64oz or bigger – of beer). You bring in a liter or 5 liter empty glass bottle, choose your wine from several choices, and they fill it. A liter is a 1/4 more than a bottle of wine! I died and went to heaven! I brought in two empty bottles and tried a red and a white. I was then a regular customer.
But yesterday, I was introduced to this (see picture) – a minimum 5-liter jug wine filling station. It was beautiful. In the picture you can see a much larger than 5-liter jug (more like 20 liters) getting filled with red. Of course, these are table wines. You couldn’t do this with a finer wine. This is wine that only ferments for a few weeks before being processed in to wine. It is also not as strong as older wines. This the “everyday” wine. And the prices are incredibly good. The most expensive was 2.80 euros a liter.
But what if you don’t have a 5 liter jug. Not to worry, they have these wines in boxes and the prices are seriously amazing. I bought a 5-liter box of the Rosato and it was 10.75 euros!! To put this into perspective, 1 liter is equal to 1000ml. One bottle of wine is typically 750ml. So one 5-liter box is roughly 6.5 bottles of wine.
As you may know, Italians are fiercely proud of their regional foods and wine. The Venetians believe the best wine comes from Veneto. The Tuscans believe the best wine comes from Tuscany. So, you have to try the wines in every region you visit and decide for yourself.
As for my personal preference, I had never liked whites. Champagne and Prosecco, sure, but a still white did nothing for me. I have fallen in love with Lugana, Soave, and Trentino whites. They are lovely. And, I now understand the difference between a bold red and a table red wine.
Bottomline, pack a glass bottle (or buy one from them for next to nothing) and hit some Vino Sfuso stores when you visit.