Medieval ‘Wine Windows’ Are Making a Comeback in Italy Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

We definitely can’t say that wine makes everything better, but it certainly helps, and nobody knows this more than the Italians.

Did you know that during the bubonic plague (also known as the Black Death) Italy found a way for winemakers to fill the glasses of thirsty and weary patrons that was completely germ-free and contactless? It’s not some crazy advanced invention, but it is innovative. 

They carved tiny windows into the walls which became known as wine windows. These tiny windows allowed wineries to fill the glasses of those waiting outside while completely social distancing

Matteo Faglia, the president of The Wine Window Association, told Insider, “People could knock on the little wooden shutters and have their bottles filled direct from the Antinori, Frescobaldi and Ricasoli families, who still produce some of Italy’s best-known wine today.”

Through the years, there stopped being a need for wine windows. Faglia said, “The wine windows gradually became defunct, and many wooden ones were permanently lost in the floods of 1966.”

Things have recently changed. We’re in another pandemic, and wine windows are the perfect solution for life to get back to somewhat normal in Italy.

After a strict lockdown that forced Italians into their houses for weeks on end, the country has started to reopen, and the wine is once again flowing…through the tiny windows in the walls, but wine isn’t the only thing being served through these tiny windows. Gelato and coffee are being passed through to consumers as well.

You will only find wine windows in Florence and Tuscany. There are over 150 in Florence, some of which have been permanently filled, and there are many more throughout Tuscany.

Until recently, wine windows went pretty much unnoticed. The Wine Window Association wants to change that. Wine windows currently have a protected status, but the association is worried that they will be ignored again after COVID-19 is behind us.

The Wine Window Association has a plan to try to preserve the tiny windows and their history for future generations. Faglia explained, “We want to put a plaque by all the wine windows, as people tend to respect them more when they understand what they are and their history.”

Have you ever seen a wine window in real life? Do you think the tiny windows will stop being used again when the current pandemic is over? Besides a plaque, do you think there’s anything that the Wine Window Association could do to protect them?