Fill ‘Er Up at the Wine Station

Our Published Palermo Travel Book Here

This might be common throughout Italy, but Palermo is the first time we’ve encountered a store that sells wine by the liter, as though it were gas. Pumped from a tank, through a nozzle into a large plastic container, with a ticker racking up the price, really as though it were gas. It’s even about the same price.

As soon as I saw the metallic tank spurting out wine — or rather, as soon as my mind could wrap itself around what I was looking at, Vino & Co. became my favorite shop in the world. Red wine is a bit more expensive than white or rosé, but five liters (nearly seven bottles) still only runs about €7. It’s table wine that will never win any awards, or be praised as “smokey and full, with undercurrents of cinnamon and raspberry” by a bespectacled gentleman connoisseur. But it’s drinkable.

My guilt about drinking wine falls into two categories. (1) Spending so much money on such an unnecessary pleasure, and (b) spending so much time stumbling about buzzed. Vino & Co. takes care of Concern #1, but might exacerbate #2.

So is this strictly a Sicilian thing? Or do these wonderful shops exist all over Italy?

Location on our Palermo Map

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. An Expat in Spain

    Wow! That’s quite cool. I don’t recognize the gas pump gettup, but it used to be common in Spain for people to bring containers to fill up with wine like that, though from wine barrels, not pumps. There’s still a place in Valencia (close to the Benimaclet metro stop) where you can do it. I was floored when I saw it, but my father-in-law said a lot of people used to buy wine bulk (not-from-a-bottle) like that when he was a kid.

  2. Bill (Scotland)

    In our nearest town (in Murcia, Spain) there are several bodegas where one can take along plastic 1 or 2 litre or bigger containers and have them filled up with wine of various grades, red, rose or white, or different kinds of sherry, from large wooden barrels – all for a negligible price and I find that the basic red is better than the more expensive offering, largely because the latter was far too potent for my taste. The fino offering of the bodega I use is very good indeed, but of course I only buy that in a 1 litre container, because you can’t keep fino for any length of time, if it is to retain its freshness.I now mostly buy my wines and sherries in normal bottles, however, and pay a bit more for it – largely because the cheapness (and the drinkability) of the bodega offerings makes it far too easy to over-indulge, good for neither the figure nor the liver.

  3. jan

    When we were in Castel del Piano in Tuscany, the local deli had a large stainless steel vat that dispensed wine into any container of your liking, but not with the petrol station nozzle and counter.  It was much nicer wine than what I found in bottles for 5 times the price. It was 1.40 euro per litre.  I think if I had a huge amount of it I would lose self control! Jan

  4. Lori Parr

    Please never again refer to the drinking of wine as an unnecessary pleasure. Thank youLori

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