66, 12 and 54 are the numbers when I think when I see a demijohn: 66kg is the gross weight, 12kg is the tare weight, and 54 is the net weight. When I was little, my father would make me write it hundreds of times on the pink strips that we would put on these containers after they were filled. Today the demijohn, because of new rules, because it’s not practical and so fragile, it’s less and less used.
But I like demijohns. Oval glass containers covered with straw cord, used to carry wine. Demijohns were delivered to people’s houses, carried in the most uncomfortable cellars, and God only knows how many physiotherapists made rich. The clients would calmly fill the bottles as she needed them with a small plastic pipe. The empty demijohns would then be taken back, washed and filled again. And the cycle would begin again. I liked a lot to put the oil: once filled, you would put a small glass of vaseline oil in the neck of the demijohn, to guarantee the conservation and avoid contact between the oxygen and wine. The oil would always float, and always taken out before emptying the container.
Romantic, the demijohn. It makes me remember of when I was little: in fact, the demijohn is the symbol of what I always wanted to fight, the opposite of what I’m doing now; but I don’t regret it, it taught me the value of work and how people considered wine in the past. It’s a lesson, this one, that should be revised by some “wine poets”, or auto-defined ones.