International media laments river of wine that escaped Portuguese distillery
“It is enough to make a connoisseur weep”, remarked the Telegraph; “They sure kept the wine flowing”, said the New York Post. The Express in UK says: “Local officials set off an environmental alert and rushed to divert the tsunami of wine in a bid to prevent it from contaminating a nearby river as it came pouring down the hill”.
The 2.2 million litres of wine that transformed a sleepy Sunday afternoon in São Lourenço do Bairro in a way no-one could have imagined was a tragedy in many senses of the word. But at least no-one got hurt.
One house had its basement flooded (imagine the smell left by a flood of red wine…), but most of the wine – apparently enough in total to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool – ended up puddled in fields at the bottom of a hill, and the distillery from which it escaped (due to ‘two huge wine tanks bursting’) has taken full responsibility.
Said the company in a statement: ““The causes of the incident are being investigated by the competent authorities. We are fully committed to covering the costs associated with cleaning up and repairing the damage, with teams ready to act immediately. We are committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible.”
In many ways this incident recalls the ‘miracle of Settecani’ three years ago in Italy when locals in a similar sleepy village were absolutely delighted to find red wine, rather than water, pouring out of their taps.
In Settecani’s case, the wine could be savoured – indeed, some residents managed to bottle quite a bit of it. Sadly not so in São Lourenço do Bairro.
But the images of the wine gushing down the street have travelled far and wide, and simply added to the bucolic charms promised by Portugal, a country that can never quite be fully explained.