A small village in Portugal experienced a wine lover’s dream come true when a river of red wine flowed through its streets on Sunday. The incident occurred after two tanks containing 2.2 million liters of wine burst at a local distillery, causing the alcoholic beverage to spill out and flood the roads.
The village of São Lourenço do Bairro, located near the coast about 240 kilometers north of Lisbon, was turned into a scene reminiscent of a biblical miracle as the wine gushed down a steep hill and threatened to reach a nearby river. Residents captured the unusual sight on video and shared it on social media, where it quickly went viral and amassed over 4 million views.
The distillery, Levira, apologized for the accident and said it was investigating the cause of the tank rupture. It also said it would cover the costs of cleaning and repairing the damage, as well as treating the wine-soaked soil that was removed from a nearby field where firefighters diverted the flow.
The wine spill was not only a waste of a precious commodity, but also a potential environmental hazard. The European Commission issued an alert and warned that the wine could contaminate the water sources and harm the aquatic life. The commission also said it would support measures to convert excess wine to biofuel, as part of its response to the wine surplus crisis in Europe caused by reduced consumption and increased production.
Portugal is one of the world’s largest wine producers and exporters, with an annual output of over 6 billion liters. However, the country has been facing a decline in domestic and international demand, especially during the pandemic. The wine sector is also facing challenges from climate change, competition, and regulation.
The wine spill in São Lourenço do Bairro was a rare and unfortunate event that highlighted the need for more sustainable and resilient solutions for the wine industry. While some may have wished they were there to witness or even taste the river of wine, others may have hoped that such a spectacle would never happen again.