Similarly to hand gestures, Italian proverbs are another peculiar and immediate way to express yourself. In the space of few words proverbs contains history, culture and genius of the Italian people. Wine, too, is a cornerstone of the Italian culture: the habit of drinking a nice glass of wine during a meal dates back to Roman times. Put this two things together and you will have a surprising list of Italian proverbs about wine: a cross section of Italy and Italians that shows you how life seems a lot lighter with a glass of wine on your table!
Italian proverbs about wine
1) Nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono = In small barrels, there’s good wine
Good things come in small packages
Big doesn’t necessarily mean better. The sentence underlines how small and simple people or things have the best qualities. While in other countries around the world this proverb refers to things in general, in Italy it refers to wines, and the appreciation for this tasty nectar can be found in many Italian proverbs. Area of origin: Brunello area in Tuscany.
2) Non si può avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca = One can’t have a full barrel and a drunk wife
You can’t have your cake and eat it too
This proverb explains how one should not want more than one deserves or can handle, but it also shows that Americans love cakes while Italians love wines! The sentence, in fact, talks about two of the greatest passions of an Italian: wine and love. Italians want to give wine to their wives to make them more compliant and, at the same time, have the full barrel to go on with the party! Area of origin: city of Venice.
3) In vino veritas = In wine there is truth
This is a Latin phrase which means “wine makes people tell the truth.” Italians are still using this proverb in the original language, a clear evidence of the fact that wine has been playing a big role in the life of the Italian peninsula since Roman times. Area of origin: the ancient Rome.
4) Il vino fa buon sangue = Good wine makes good blood
This is the most used among Italian proverbs about wine. Almost every “nonno” in Italy will swear that a good glass of wine (or maybe a couple!) during the meal is the best way to keep yourself healthy! Indeed, a 1979 study showed for the first time how a moderate consumption of wine reduces to 30% the risk of heart disease and stroke. Area of origin: Chianti area in Tuscany.
5) Dove regna il vino non regna il silenzio = Where wine reigns, silence does not reign
Similarly to “in vino veritas,” this proverb has a clear and immediate meaning: if you find yourself in a place where wine is being served, the first thing you will notice is an exhilarating noise. Area of origin: Trentino – Alto Adige.
6) Dire pane al pane e vino al vino = Speak bread to bread and wine to wine
Call a spade a spade
This proverb encourages you not to lie about what something is and instead to speak honestly and directly about a topic. Like previous proverbs, Italians differentiate themselves from the rest of the world: Americans talk about spades while Italians bring up two of their favorite subjects to symbolize this concept: food and wine! Area of origin: Bologna in Emilia-Romagna.
7) Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai = Age and glasses of wine should never be counted
This proverb might sound like an excuse to drink one more glass of wine but, indeed, it is also an invitation to fully enjoy life. Forget about your age, stay young, and enjoy the company of good friends and good wine. The real spirit of Italy is embodied in this sentence. Area of origin: Friuli Venezia Giulia.
8) Amici e vini sono meglio vecchi = Old wine and friends improve with age
Friendship and wine are authentic values for Italians, especially if they are old. Friends and wine, in fact, get better year after year. This proverb bids you to take a good care of your friends the same way a wine producer does with its wine. The reward is something unique and priceless: the company of your old friends, sitting on a table and sipping wine while talking about the old times. Area of origin: Sicily.
Do you know other Italian proverbs about wine? Tell us in the comments!