In the U.S., direct-to-consumer (DTC) wine sales — in which producers ship bottles directly to homes — bypass distributors and retail stores. This requires more sales effort on the part of the producer, but provides tax benefits.
Wealthy families in the Italian city of Florence used a similar DTC strategy to cut taxes during the Renaissance.A short, well-illustrated, and engaging book titled The Wine Window of Florence and Tuscany—Florentine art historians Diletta Corsini and Lucrezia Giordano [BDV, 2021]- reveals interesting business strategies.
During most of the period including the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, including the 16day and 17day For centuries only merchants could sell wine in Florence, and these merchants had to be members of the powerful winemaking art guild. The guild also controlled tavern hours of operation and selling prices, and designated places where wine could be sold. However, there is an important exception to the local law: According to a decree issued by Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, landowners can buy wine produced by tenants occupying their farmland and then sell this wine directly from their private homes. Skarner, 1559. When this wine for domestic use entered through the city gates, it was duty-free. Families as powerful and wealthy as Machiavelli, and others still powerful in the wine trade—the Frescobaldi, Antinori, and Ricasoli—all obeyed this law and offered city dwellers wine from their often stately homes. Wine for sale.
This juice is sold in a specific size flask. Sales transactions take place through small stone doors in the walls of the dwellings.these little windows, or bouquet [singular is buchetta], only allow passage of flasks of the desired size, no larger. These small portals also reduced the risk of entry by thieves and minimized the risk of contamination during the bubonic plague wave that swept through Florence between 1629 and 1633, killing 12 percent of the city’s population. Vendors could pour wine into flasks placed on windowsills, then use copper rods to scoop up payment coins, which they then dip into vinegar to decontaminate.Just as the Covid-19 pandemic has modified the use of retail store entrances and exits to minimize human contact, creating bouquet Contact between buyers and sellers has decreased during the pandemic.
Corsini and Giordano’s book lists 180 wine windows, or bouquet, still exists in this pivotal Renaissance city. During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, some of these portals were again used to sell coffee, wine, snacks and meals.
The tome contains historical information about these commercial trading points, and provides street addresses where these anomalous structures can be found. Since street numbers in Florence can vary, you might want to wander the city streets and keep an eye out for openings without grabbing a guidebook.Some bouquet Well preserved, with historic plaques; others look forgotten.
The book lists seven Arrangement Follow Borgo degli Albizi street in the city centre. On a recent weekend visit, I found one at street address 26 after a few minutes of wandering. The accompanying plaque reads “Buchetta del Vino Wine Window” and includes the Buchette del Vino Cultural Association’s website. This includes general information about these portals for visitors. Corsini and Giordano’s book also includes maps of the location of such windows in other Tuscan cities such as Siena, Lucca, Pistoia, and Prato.
These bouquet Historic museums are also windows into the past—reminders that taxes and disease still alter the commerce and architecture around us.