Here is a language lesson on wine in Italy.
Italy is currently the largest wine producer in the world and Italian wines are well known around the world. Il vino italiano (Italian wine) is made throughout the country, from Lombardia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Piemonte in the north, to Campania and Sicilia in the south. So you should definitely try some when in Italy! If you would like to order a glass of wine in un’enoteca (a wine bar), un locale(a bar), un ristorante or una trattoria (a restaurant), here is some useful vocabulary:
Un bicchiere / un calice - a glass
Una bottliglia - a bottle
Posso assaggiare... - can I try...
Vino bianco - white wine
Vino rosso - red wine
Vino rosato / rosè - rose wine
Vino dolce - sweet wine
Vino secco - dry wine
Vino da dessert - dessert wine, such as vin santo
Vino corposo - full-bodied wine
Spumante - sparkling wine
Salute / cin cin - cheers
Here is a dialogue in a bar both in Italian and English:
Ciao, ti posso aiutare?
Sì vorrei un bicchiere di vino bianco. Cosa mi consiglii?
Che tipo di vino ti piace? Secco o fruttato o dolce?
Mi piacciono i vini fruttati.
Allora ti consiglio un Traminer aromatico, chiamato anche un Gerwurztraminer. È un vino bianco fruttato che viene da Friuli. Vuoi assaggiare?
Cosa ne pensi?
Mi piace, è buono.
Bene. Prego. Salute!
Hi, how can I help you?
I would like a glass of white wine. What do you recommend?
What type of wine do you like? Dry, fruity or sweet?
I like fruity wines.
Right, I would recommend a Gerwurztraminer, also called a Traminer aromatico. It is a fruity white that comes from Friuli. Would you like to try it?
Here you go.
What do you think of it?
I like it, it is nice.
Good. Here you go. Cheers!
If you are buying Italian wine in un’enoteca (a wine shop), un negozio (a shop) or un supermercato (a supermarket), see below some terms to look out for:
Anno or annata - vintage
Botte - barrel / cask
Cantina - winery
Vigna - vineyard
Uve - grapes
Biologico - organic
Prodotto e imbottigliato da - made and bottled by
DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) - controlled designation of origin
DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) - controlled designation of origin guaranteed. DOCG labelled wines are checked by government–licensed staff before being bottled and they are then secured with a numbered seal across the cap or cork.
Offerta - offer
Sconto - discount
Prezzo - price
Economico - cheap
Costoso - expensive
There are lots of good wine options to try and buy in Italy, for all types of tastes and budgets. You can go to una degustazione dei vini (a wine tasting) to try some of them. You can also ask a sommelier in a restaurant for more information on un’abbinamento dei vini (wine pairing with a meal). Italians also use wine in cooking, such as red wine in un ragù (a bolognaise sauce) or white wine in un risotto. Some desserts, such as il tiramisù have un vino dolce (a sweet wine) in them, and you can sometimes find sweet wine and biscuits as a dessert on a menu, such as cantucci e vin santo (biscuits and sweet wine). There is an Italian expression ‘finire a tarallucci e vino’, which means ‘to end up good friends’. See below some other interesting proverbs and expressions using wine-related vocabulary in Italian:
Nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono - good things come in small packages (literally, in a small barrell, there’s good wine)
Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai - Age and glasses of wine should never be counted
Non si può avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca - You can’t have your cake and eat it (literally, one can’t have a full barrel and a drunk wife)
In vino veritas - In wine there is truth (Latin)
Amici e vini sono meglio vecchi - Old is gold (literally, friends and wine are better old)
I hope this Italian lesson on wine has been helpful. Salute!