The Culture and Wine of Italy

The Culture and Wine of Italy

The Culture and Wine of Italy

Italian Wine and Cultural Traditions
A remarkable discovery was discovered by Ryan while studying abroad in Venice: a carafe of the house wine was often no more costly than a bottle of water — and in some cases, it was even less expensive.
This is the most amazing nation on the face of the planet, he thought. His second question was, “Can I survive on a diet of wine, bread, and pizza for the whole semester?”


However, after a time, much like grapes maturing in a barrel, more important intercultural teachings began to sink in.
For example, wine is as much a component of an Italian meal as water is to a human being.


In light of the country’s long history with wine, which dates back thousands of years to the ancient Etruscans and Romans, this makes sense. Italian wine production and culture have developed in the past 50 years, despite the fact that the country’s viticulture has had its ups and downs throughout the ages.


It is true that wine consumption in Italy has declined somewhat in recent years, with causes such as the economic crisis and a rise in the popularity of Italian craft brewers both contributing to the trend downward.


Wine, on the other hand, continues to be a constant part in Italian life. Consider this: the typical Italian consumes between 10.6 and 13.6 gallons of alcohol per year (numbers vary depending on the source), but the average American consumes only 2.7 gallons per year.


And so it continues to be an important element of the culture and a vital component of meals and daily life. Because Italians have been making wine for many millennia longer than we have been doing it here in North America, it stands to reason that they may be able to teach us a thing or two about the beverage of kings. 


4  simple takeaways from Italian wine culture that you would be prudent to remember are as follows:


1) Don’t keep wine for rare events;


 drink it every day. Wine tasting doesn’t have to be a large, fussy event to be enjoyable. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with breaking out a pricey bottle of Barolo or a high-end Super Tuscan for a special occasion. Consider wine, on the other hand, as a nourishing and stimulating beverage that may be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle.


2) Drink gently and in moderation to prevent overindulging.


 In Italy, there is a culture of “slow eating,” with inhabitants taking their time to taste their meals and dinners lasting several hours. (See Chapter 11 for further information on Italian cuisine and wine.) In spite of the lengthy lunches and the widespread use of wine, moderation is the key when it comes to food and drink intake.


3) Look beyond the well-known names. 


It seems like there is a secret local wine gem behind every piazza in Italy, and many Italians enjoy the wines produced by these small local producers.

While finding these small hidden gems in the United States can be difficult because most are not distributed outside of Italy, we encourage you to take a more adventurous approach to your Italian wine tasting by seeking out new and more obscure vintages rather than simply sticking with the same ol’ bottle of Chianti.


4) Keep things as basic as possible. 


Yes, learning about the scents and flavors in your glass of Italian wine is an important part of the learning process, but it doesn’t mean you have to make a big show of sniffing, swirling, and swishing. Consuming wine is also about appreciating the simplicity of the beverage, which is made from fermented grapes and is known as “nectar of the gods.”

This lack of pretension is reflected in the glassware used to serve wine in Italian restaurants, which may vary from the most opulent stemware to the most basic water or juice cups. According to our observations, most wines taste as wonderful regardless of the vessel in which they are consumed.


Several of our favorite dinners in Italy have consisted of nothing more than an amazing prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich, the flavors of which had melded to perfection, along with a glass of the restaurant’s house red wine.