In This Tiny European Town, an 'Alcoholic Flash Flood'

Distillery's storage tanks burst, sending 600K gallons of red wine into streets of Portuguese town
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2023 11:00 AM CDT

There's too much wine in Europe, if that can be believed—and some of that excess ended up flowing through the roads of a Portuguese town over the weekend. NBC News reports on the "alcoholic flash flood" on Sunday in Sao Lourenco do Bairro, where a river of nearly 600,000 gallons of red wine rushed down the small town's hilly streets. The Telegraph has video of the vino outpouring, which local distillery Destilaria Levira says was the result of two burst storage tanks.

Firefighters managed to redirect the grape-based gush away from the Certima River, "which feeds into Portugal's largest freshwater lake and supports a network of wetland habitats, reed beds, and marshlands," per the Washington Post. The distillery says the wine in those storage tanks was set to be destroyed anyway, as a response to what it says is Portugal's wine "crisis." The European Commission recently estimated that the nation has experienced a 34% drop in wine consumption this year, leaving plenty to languish. Other countries, including Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, are facing the same conundrum.

Destilaria Levira notes there were no injuries from the incident, though one resident's basement was said to have been flooded by the wine. "We want to express our sincere concern for the damage caused in general ... and in particular to [that] home," the distillery said in a Facebook post. "We're committed to resolving this situation as soon as possible." It noted it would handle all cleanup and damage repairs, and that an investigation into what caused the tanks to burst is ongoing. (More Portugal stories.)

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