Depending on the size, the damigiana would last us at least few weeks. It was encased in hard plastic mesh with a small handle on each side. We would each grab one of these handles and scurry back to our grandmother's, teetering under the weight of the thing. I still remember helping my nonna refill a few old wine bottles. They were made of thick, green glass and we would set them neatly in the sink. My job was to hold a plastic funnel securely at the opening of each bottle, while my nonna hoisted up the damigiana and poured the vino (always red) into each one. Those bottles would be placed at the table, while the damigiana was returned to the pantry until our supply was once again low.
The damigiana was never labeled. I still have no idea what varietals were in there or what vinyard it came from. Chances are that just like il Signor Bovino's store, it was a mish-mash of local stuff. But I do remember it was a decent red table wine. Our great-aunt Pasquina swore by it. She was unable to eat a meal without a couple glasses of wine. And by glass I mean a small water glass, not a fancy long stemmed wine glass. In fact, I don't ever recall stemmed wine glasses at any meal...ever.I don't think my nonna even owned any. It would mean literally elevating the wine to ornamental status when it wasn't so. Our vino was robust and earthy, like the soils it came from. It completed our meals of simple vegetables, cheeses, and legumes. It was always there - essential and appreciated, yet hardly worth a mention.
Today Puglia is experiencing a Renaissance in wine production. Its flagship varieties, Salice Salentino and Primitivo, are both spicy reds with a high alcohol content. Vineyards are improving their production and marketing their labels in local enoteche. It is more common for a family to buy wine in typical 750mL bottles than in the cumbersome damigiana. Regardless of the container, wine remains a fixture at the table, and I smile each time a see a kid shlepping some home just in time for lunch.