Excess wine floods the streets of a small town in Portugal
A small town in Portugal recently experienced an extraordinary event as millions of liters of red wine flooded its streets. The incident occurred in São Lourenço do Bairro, where two large tanks at Destilaria Levira ruptured, causing approximately 2.2 million liters (581,000 gallons) of wine to pour out onto the roads.
In a viral video shared on social media, the flood of wine can be seen coursing down a hilly street, flowing over curbs and creating what some have described as a “river of wine.” Thankfully, no one was injured by the torrent, although at least one cellar was reportedly flooded.
The distillery issued a statement expressing their deep regret over the incident and vowing to cover the costs of the cleanup. Local officials are now working to repair the damage and ensure that the wine does not contaminate local farms, vineyards, or water supplies.
The large quantity of wine was being stored at the distillery as part of the government’s “crisis distillation” program, which aims to remove surplus wine from the market before the upcoming harvest. This excess wine was slated to be converted into alcohol.
Portugal, known for its high wine consumption rate per capita, is currently facing challenging times for its wine producers. Wine consumption in the country has fallen by 34% according to the European Union, citing factors such as inflation and other pressures. This decline is not limited to Portugal, as countries like France and Germany are also experiencing double-digit decreases in wine consumption.
Destilaria Levira is now investigating the cause of the tank rupture that resulted in the wine cascading through the town’s streets. The distillery expressed its gratitude towards local firefighters who managed to contain some of the wine and transport it to a treatment plant.
While this incident may seem like a bizarre occurrence, it sheds light on the larger challenges faced by the wine industry in Europe. As wine consumption declines and surplus wine accumulates, it becomes crucial for governments and producers to find solutions that balance supply and demand. In the case of São Lourenço do Bairro, the excess wine may have flooded the streets, but it also highlights an industry in need of support and adaptation.