Whether it’s a Barolo or a Brunello, a Montepulciano or a Moscato, Italy is renowned for its excellent wine. Enjoying a nice glass of wine with friends and family is an intrinsic part of the Italian lifestyle. So it’s no surprise that there are some interesting expressions and sayings centred around wine.

In vino veritas

This is a Latin saying which means: in wine there is truth, or in wine lies the truth. The real meaning of this is that when people are under the influence of alcohol, they are more likely to speak the truth, whether that’s thoughts, feelings or desires. 

Buon vino fa buon sangue

The literal meaning of this expression is: good wine makes good blood. It could be translated as: good wine is good for your health, or good wine keeps you healthy. In this case it’s similar to the idea that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. A glass of good wine keeps the doctor away!

Dire pane al pane e vino al vino

The direct translation of this is ‘to call bread bread and wine wine’. In English, our equivalent expression is ‘to call a spade a spade’. It means to call something by its right name and speak honestly and directly about something.

Nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono

This translates as: in a small barrel, there’s good wine. Big doesn’t necessarily mean better. Good things can come in small packages.

But what about Italian expressions with other drinks? Let’s look at some other sayings with the Italian word for water in them: 

Acqua in bocca!

This literally translates as water in your mouth. It means that you should keep something quiet. We might say: keep it to yourself, keep it a secret or mum’s the word. It makes sense really, if you have water in your mouth, you definitely won’t be doing much talking!

Perdersi in un bicchiere d’acqua

This translates as ‘to get lost in a glass of a water’. The meaning is that you’re making something big out of something small or simple. In English we could say that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. 

Acqua e sapone

This means ‘water and soap’ and is used to describe someone, usually a woman, who is naturally beautiful. The idea is that she doesn’t need a lot of make up or much time to get ready, she’s beautiful just the way she is. 

I’ll leave you with one last Italian drink expression you can use with Italian friends on an evening out: 

Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai

Literally this means that age and glasses of wine should never be counted. It can be used as an invitation to really enjoy life, whatever your age. Go on, enjoy a glass (or two!) of good wine in good company!