One of our favourite things to do in Italy is to sit out in the piazza and drink a nice glass of vino (or two!). Find out how to order wine like an Italian in this lesson.
To help you remember what you learnt in today’s lesson, below you’ll find bonus materials like word lists, quizzes and flashcards. But first…
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Today’s Italian words
Un Prosecco = a Prosecco
Due Prosecchi = 2 Proseccos
Una bottiglia di Prosecco = a bottle of Prosecco
Una = a (for feminine words)
Un = a (for masculine words)
il Chianti = a type of red wine from Tuscany
La Falanghina = a type of white wine which comes from the Vesuvius region
La Barbera = a type of red wine from Piemonte
Un bicchiere di Prosecco = a glass of Prosecco
Un bicchiere di Chianti = a glass of Chianti
bicchiere = glass
di = of
calice = wine glass
spumante/frizzante/mosso = sparkling
mosso = moved
bollicine = little bubbles (sometimes used to talk about sparkling wine)
Vino fermo = still wine
Fermo = still
Vino bianco = white wine
Vino bianco fermo = still white wine
Vino bianco secco = dry white wine
Fruttato = fruity
Un vino bianco fruttato = fruity white wine
Dolce = sweet
Un vino bianco dolce = sweet white wine
Vino rosso = red wine
Corposo = full-bodied
Un vino rosso corposo = a full-bodied red wine
Un vino rosso non strutturato = a light red wine
Non strutturato = light (when talking about wine)
Pinot grigio (dry white wine from the North East of Italy)
Soave (dry white wine from Veneto)
Fiano (dry white wine from Campania)
Donnafugata (fruity white wine from Sicily)
Gewürztraminer (fruity white wine from Trentino)
Malvasia (sweet white wine from Sicily)
Passito (sweet white wine from Sicily)
Zibibbo (sweet white wine from Sicily)
Amarone (Full-bodied red wine from Piemonte)
Barolo (Full-bodied red wine from Piemonte)
Aglianico (A light red wine from Campania)
Primitivo (A light red wine from Puglia)
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Please note, this is not a word for word transcript
Katie: One thing I love about Italy is sitting at a little table in a restaurant or bar, looking out over the piazza and enjoying a nice glass of vino. Ordering wine is an essential skill in Italy, let’s find out how in episode 23 of 5 minute Italian
Ciao a tutti e benvenuti a 5 minute Italian, hi everyone and welcome to 5 minute Italian. I’m Katie…
Matteo: And I’m Matteo. Ciao.
And in today’s lesson, we’re going to learn how to order a glass of vino. Let’s start nice and simple. Can you think of a famous Italian sparkling wine, which comes from the Veneto region, that’s popular all over the world?
Matteo: Prosecco of course.
Katie: To order a glass of prosecco, you can simply say:
Matteo: Un Prosecco. Or for two, you can use the plural due Prosecchi.
Katie: And what about if you want to order a bottle?
Matteo: Una bottiglia di Prosecco.
Katie: So that’s interesting. We have un Prosecco with “un”, but una bottiglia with “una”. That’s because Italian nouns are split into two groups, masculine and feminine – la bottiglia is feminine, so we use “una”, whereas most types of wine are masculine, so we use “un”. Un Prosecco, or un Chianti. But sometimes types of wine can feminine, like my favourite wine, la Falanghina, which comes from the Vesuvius region. One rule of thumb is to look at the end of the word. If it ends with the letter “a”, like Falangina or Barbera it’s probably “una”, In other cases, you can use “un” like un Prosecco, or un Chianti.
Matteo: Or if you prefer, you can avoid going into these details, by asking for un bicchiere di prosecco “A glass of Prosecco”. Or un bicchiere di Chianti. Un means “a”, bicchiere means “glass” and di means “of”.
Katie: Bicchiere, which means glass, can be a real mouthful! It took me ages to be able to pronounce it because there are so many vowels! So can we hear it again, nice and slow?
Katie: You may also see the word calice which also means glass, but whereas bicchiere means any type of glass, calice is used exclusively for vino. Alright, so let’s go back to our sparkling wines. How do you say “sparkling wine” in Italian?
Matteo: We usually say spumante but you might also see vino frizzante which means fizzy wine. Or sometimes you might hear vino mosso. Mosso means moved, so the literal translation is “moved wine”. And finally, on menus, you may see the word bollicine which means “little bubbles”.
Katie: One last thing about spumante – if you want to really blend in with the locals, you should have this wine before dinner. Italians don’t usually drink fizzy wine like Prosecco with food, perhaps occasionally with dessert, but certainly not with a main meal. With a meal, Italians drink vino fermo, which means “still wine”. And you’ll often see this word written on menus. The adjective, fermo which means still, always goes at the end. Let’s start with white. Do you know how to say white wine in Italian?
Matteo: Vino bianco
Katie: So if I want still white wine I’d say.. (remember still goes at the end)
Matteo: Vino bianco fermo.
Katie: And what if I want a dry white wine? How do you say dry?
Katie: So how would I order “a dry white wine”?
Matteo: Un vino bianco secco. And some examples of dry white wines you will find in Italy are: Pinot grigio, which comes from the north east of Italy, Soave, which comes from the Veneto area, and Fiano, which comes from the Campania region in the south.
Katie: And what if I want a fruity white wine? Fruity, when we’re talking about wine, is fruttato. So how would I order a fruity white wine?
Matteo: Un vino bianco fruttato. And some examples of fruity white wines you will find in Italy are: Donnafugata, which comes from Sicily and Gewürztraminer from Trentino, in the north of Italy, where they speak German, which explains the German-sounding name.
Katie: And you can find the names of these wines in the show notes, along with the other vocabulary from today’s lesson. And what about “sweet white wine”?
Matteo: Un vino bianco dolce. And some examples of sweet white wines you’ll find are Malvasia, Passito and Zibibbo, all from Sicily.
Katie: Now let’s move onto reds. How do you say red wine?
Matteo: Vino Rosso.
Katie: What about if I want a really intense red wine, in English we say “full-bodied”
Matteo: Un vino rosso corposo. And some examples of full-bodied red wines are Amarone and Barolo from Piemonte.
Katie: So what about if I want a lighter red wine. How would I ask for that?
Matteo: Un vino rosso non strutturato. And some examples of light red wines are Aglianico from Campania and Primitivo from Puglia.
Katie: Hmmm, I’m really craving a glass of wine now! I hope you enjoyed this episode and you’re feeling inspired to try some Italian wines. And order in Italian of course!
K: That’s all we have time for today, thanks for listening. And if you’d like to get more mini Italian lessons delivered to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe by following the link below. Grazie, and ciao for now, see you next time, or as we say in Italian, alla prossima!
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