COVID-19 is Bringing Back Wine Windows, Last Used During The Plague

COVID-19 is Bringing Back Wine Windows, Last Used During The Plague

Wine windows, or buchette del vino, date back a few centuries.

Social distancing has now become the ‘new normal’ as the world grapples to slow the spread of COVID-19. Amid this pandemic, we have seen many weird but fascinating innovations introduced to encourage people to maintain a safe space. As such, it’s impossible not to bring to light the ‘wine windows’ popping up in Italy. 

Just as the name suggests, the pint-sized windows appear on concrete walls of restaurants and wineries. They allow locals to enjoy a glass of vino by ‘safe-proofing’ the transaction so as to minimise contact. Sellers are able to distribute wine through the puny opening, while maintaining a safe distance.  

Image credit: Buchette del Vino

Also read: 8 Dreamiest Towns in Italy That Will Steal Your Heart

History of ‘wine windows’

To clear the air, the ‘wine windows,’ or buchette del vino, is a conception that in fact dates back a few centuries. It was prevalent during the Italian Plague that ravaged large cities and provincial towns in the 1600s. The quaint tradition steeped with a ghastly history has survived the likes of various outbreaks of infectious diseases. Its inception was truly ahead of its time. There was a lack of knowledge on some of civilisation’s most prolific killers during that era. 

As Italy emerges from Europe’s longest coronavirus lockdown, the ‘wine windows’ are seeing a resurgence. 

“During this time, some enterprising Florentine Wine Window owners have turned back the clock and are using their Wine Windows to dispense glasses of wine, cups of coffee, drinks, sandwiches and ice cream — all germ-free, contactless,” the Wine Window Association website says.

It brings comfort that this archaic tradition has stood the test of time and is once again set in motion as Italy, and the rest of the world, fights a 21st century influenza pandemic. 

More than 150 of these ‘wine windows’ are scattered across Tuscany and Florence. It’s a shame that most of them have been covered up and lost in the floods of 1966. However, The Wine Window Association in Italy endeavours to identify the precious relics with small plaques to memorialise the authentic “buchette del vino”.

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Ifah Sakinah
Ifah Sakinah

Sakinah has a discerning palate and an innate desire to satisfy her inner curiosity. While she hasn't been everywhere, it's definitely on her list.


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