Idiomatic expressions are an important part of every country’s cultural heritage. Wine philosophy flows deep in the veins of Tuscany’s everyday life and conversations, where folklore-tinged mottos can frequently be overheard. Here at Dievole we recognize the priceless value of these ancient words that to this day have the power to inspire wisdom and laughter, together with having laid the very foundation for many of our modern certainties. In Tuscan idiomatic expressions, wine and food are two of the themes that come up most often – today let’s look at those about wine.
Non ti mettere in cammino se la bocca ‘un sa di vino
Smiles are bound to arise when the locals suggest to “not leave the house unless your mouth tastes of wine”, as to assure a pleasant journey with a bellyful of goodness and a head full of good thoughts.
Buon vino fa buon sangue
When it comes to health and wellbeing, for some, wine is key. “Good wine makes for good blood” affirms that wine can help improve the natural blood flow, while others declare “Chi beve vino prima della minestra saluta il medico dalla finestra”, thus suggesting that a nice glass of red before dinner keeps the doctor away (so much for an apple a day!).
Pan d’un giorno, vin d’un anno
In the kitchen, wine sayings dictate certain rules. For example, the dinner table is not complete without “day-old bread and year-old wine”. This motto embodies the philosophy behind all things Tuscan: the regional unsalted bread actually tastes better the day after it was baked because of its crunchy consistency, while the best wine must be vintage or fresh from the cellar.
Chi vuole tutta l’uva non ha buon vino
Winemaking and its traditions are also well-rooted in Tuscan proverbs, simple mantras that are able to foster deeper meanings and unforeseen life lessons. This saying, which translated means “He who wants all the grapes will not make good wine” teaches to not be greedy, to prefer quality over quantity. To make good wine you need to wait for the grapes to mature. You might lose some in the process but learning to accept and understand the perfect timing of nature’s will is an important task in the ancient art of viniculture.
Vigna al nuvolo fa poco vino
The harvest period gathers a good number of wine sayings and teachings ripe with century-old vineyard knowledge. This proverb, “A vineyard in the shade is bound to be unproductive”, underlines the importance of the sun in the life-span of grapes. In July many foresee the success of the pick simply by looking at the fruity bunch: “Se il grappolo è serrato il vino è assicurato” (If the grape bunch is tightly clustered, quality wine is assured).
Il vecchio pianta la vigna e il giovane la vendemmia
Generations have different roles in the hardy winemaking endeavor: “The old plant the vineyard, the young harvest the grapes”. Children will always sow the seeds of their parents’ efforts to make for a better future.
Nella botte piccina ci sta il vino bono
Sayings offer many layers of understanding and interpretation. Words become important vectors of meaning and wise messages are hidden to the inexperienced eye.
Barrels have also made their way into popular proverbs, bearers of deep, heady messages. “The small cask preserves the best wine” supports the idea that good things can also come in small packages. Beauty can often be found in the unexpected.