Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Big, fat wine "bottles" in France/Burgundy

Big, fat wine "bottles" in France/Burgundy

Jun 30th, 2004, 10:33 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 556
Big, fat wine "bottles" in France/Burgundy

I recently spent a few days driving through Burgundy with a friend. Here and there, we would see pale green glass bottles that appeared to be used for wine. These were big, fat bottles, though. The larger size you could wrap your arms around.

I saw a few for sale at a flea market for 5-10 Euro each. Since I couldn't figure out how to get one on the plane with me, I thought I might be able to find them on EBay or something like that. I'm not having any luck with Google searches on "French wine bottle" or "French wine container."

Does this sound familiar to anyone and do you know if they have a particular name?
janeygirl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 11:10 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,521
Over-size French wine bottles come in a variety of sizes: the Jeroboam (or Rehoboam), Methuselah, Salmanazar, Balthazar, and Nebuchadnezzar. Take your pick.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 11:12 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,521
Check with your local high-end restaurants; those often carry the over-size bottles and might be willing to sell one to you. Then again, you might just have to find a merchant who carries the large bottles--ours usually does, especially around the holidays.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 11:43 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 556
Thanks, Underhill. I'd never seen these kinds of bottles until my recent Bourgogne trip (at least not here in the midwest).

janeygirl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 11:56 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 556
Hmmm...that doesn't appear to be what I'm looking for. The size looks right but the bottles I saw were pale green (almost no color) glass and they were shaped like a ball with a neck attached, not like a regular wine bottle that's supersized.
janeygirl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 12:17 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,717
I think the bottles that you saw were containers -- the right word doesn't occur to me either -- to transport less important (i.e., bulk) wines rather than actual wine bottles.

Ah-ha! Michael Dibdin has an interesting mystery set in Piedmont, in which some of the rural characters transport wine in "demijohns" or "damigiane" (in Italian). I can't find a French word for it, but I imagine most people on E-bay use English anyway...

According to my dictionary, a demijohn holds from 1 to 10 gallons of wine. It used to be covered in wickerwork; nowadays it is generally covered in plastic netting or not at all.

Demijohns are fat, but they are not shaped quite like a ball: the bottoms are flat, so that they can be stood up.
Eloise is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 12:29 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 556
Yep, I believe that's it, Eloise. I Googled "demijohn" and got several pictures that look like what I saw on my trip (the bottles I saw did have flat bottoms, too.)
janeygirl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 12:36 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,947
A demijohn is a dame-jeanne or bonbonne in French, in case you want to locate a real French one.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 30th, 2004, 01:44 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,827
I know the ones you mean and they go for a small fortune if you find one here. I have seen them in a few shops who carry vintage French things.
I wanted a large wicker covered one like my friends in Provence use for refilling but here they are ridiculously priced and not in that great a shape.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 02:32 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 143
The more utilitarian version of these containers is called a carboy. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be easily found at wine- and beer-making supply shops. I've even seen the round demi-john versions with wicker baskets.
lovesprada is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 08:43 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,004
Try a Google for "wine making supplies" and you'll probably find it. We have several my husband got in upstate NY about 30 years ago but I wouldn't part with them.
SalB is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 08:38 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 556
Thanks for the additional tips. I'll give them a try.

(I don't know why I am so fascinated by them. I guess I just like the fat, round shapes.)
janeygirl is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:32 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1
janeygirl,
If your are still looking for "large" demijohns, I have two. Both are about the same size. One is in a heavy wicker basket. The wicker goes right up to the neck of the bottle. The other demijohn is in what looks to be a heavy bushel basket but it sure doesn't have the class of the wicker basket. Each of these would hold a few gallons. They appear to be about the size of a normal bushel basket. The wicker demijohn even has two large wicker handles.
logwork is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:49 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,637
Eloise, I love Michael Dibdin's books!
Grasshopper is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 06:02 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,637
There are several on ebay right now. Search "demijohn".
Grasshopper is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 07:10 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,939
Mimi is correct and the bottles are gorgeous--but TRES CHER in the US at antique shops.
Gretchen is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 07:12 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,827
I found some for you!!!!!!

www.wisteria.com

under antiques in the catalog
cigalechanta is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 07:32 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 556
logwork: Thanks but I just want the plain ones without the basketry.

cigalechanta: That's exactly what I'm looking for! I don't know if I want to pay $199 for one, though. I saw a couple of them at a flea market in Burgundy for 10 Euro each. Sigh.
janeygirl is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
tidy
Europe
26
Jun 6th, 2015 01:52 PM
GalleySlaveKelly
Europe
12
Aug 30th, 2014 09:54 AM
schluender
Europe
6
May 16th, 2006 05:04 AM
margaret
Europe
13
Jan 19th, 2003 05:52 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:23 AM.