Florence: Buy your wine like the locals… on tap!
By Taylor Zerbey—
Florence is a wine lover’s paradise, offering amazing wines from all over Tuscany and Italy at low prices that could even shock a Cheapo. One way to enjoy wine and beer at even cheaper prices is to buy it like the locals do, “alla Spina” (on tap) or “vino sfuso” (wine in bulk or loose).
Simply show up with empty bottles or boxes and fill them up with the wine of your choice. It’s typically cheaper than buying a bottle in the supermarket and, most importantly, the wines are of high quality and integrity.
Here are five places I recommend for filling up with wine on tap in Florence:
Enoteca Alla Sosta dei Papi
Via Borgo La Croce, 81r
Located right down the road from Sant’Ambrogio market, this enoteca is a perfect place to fill up on wine after you get your groceries from the market. They offer six or seven wines on tap, almost all from local family-owned wineries. Their most inexpensive red wine is a Montepulciano, at €2.60/liter, while their most popular is the Montalcino for €3.30/liter.
If you are looking for a basic red wine, I would recommend one of their “table” wines: the Rosso Toscano Chianti and the Nero d’Avola (Sicilian), both for €2.80/liter. My personal favorite so far is their Chardonnay for €2.70/liter.
One of the special aspects of this enoteca is that you can organize little (or big) “Apericena” events here. For about €15 a person, you can choose a wine and eat from a buffet of local Tuscan specialties, like local meats and cheeses, bruschetta and other goodies.
Fattoria San Michele a Torri
Via dell’Agnolo, 101
Neighborhood: Santa Croce
Fattoria San Michele a Torri offers a smaller selection of wine on tap, but the wines are all from grapes that are biologiche (organic). I am obsessed with their Merlot (€3.50/liter), but their red and white table wines are also amazing (€2.40/liter).
I would also recommend buying your bread here. Although it is a bit more expensive than what you will find at the supermarket, it is well worth the extra euro. Baked in a wood fired oven, the loaves taste great with local cheeses (which you can also buy here).
San Michele is where all my friends from this neighborhood go to get wine—it’s always packed with locals, a great sign.
Via delle Carra, 16
Neighborhood: Piazza S. Jacopino
I Vinaio an itsy bitsy little wine and beer shop on Via delle Carre, near Piazza San Jacopino. The wines on tap cost around €2- €5 a bottle and all come from Tuscany or Sicily. I bought a red “Morello” that was amazing for only €3 here.
Unlike most wine stores in Florence, this store also carries a wide selection of artisan beer. Though there is no beer on tap, their prices for bottled specialty beer are not extraordinarily high, so it’s easy enough to come and try a couple from their selection to find one you really like. The owners are very knowledgeable, so if you are unsure of what to try, just ask them and they will help you select the perfect wine or beer to fit your tastes. If you are in the mood for something bubbly, they also have prosecco on tap, how amazing is that?!
Via Fabroni Giovanni, 14R
Neighborhood: Piazza S. Jacopino
The superstore! Vigna Vittoria has a huge selection of wine on tap. What makes this place great is their extensive selection of wines from all around Italy, not just Tuscany. White wines from Venice, Liguria, red wines from Piedmont, Puglia, Sardinia etc. and prices that are very affordable. (Basic red/white table wines start at €1.20/liter.)
Plan on coming here when you have lots of time—preferably in the morning or late evenings when it is least busy—so that you will have a chance to talk with a staff member about their selection.
Via degli Orti Oricellari, 6
Neighborhood: Santa Maria Novella Station
Not only does Bveg offer some of the best vegetarian food in Florence, but this little bistro has a great selection of beer, hence the name B(eer)Veg(etarian). They have about six beers on tap, all of which are exclusively from Italian breweries.
I recommend the Brewfist Jale, but if you are unsure of what you want, sit at the bar and—if it isn’t too busy—the bartender will let you sample a couple of beers. An average-sized beer costs around €5 and if you come after 7 p.m. they offer a small aperitivo: a selection of delicious little finger foods (some of which are made using the beer!).
This is a place to come and enjoy a glass of beer or wine with friends in a tranquil atmosphere—with great music and free Wi-Fi too!