Recently, in Portugal, the streets literally ran red with wine. You might call it an alco-holiday.
A distillery apologized to neighbors after a river of surplus wine rushed down a narrow, hilly street in a small town in Portugal.
The alcoholic flash flood Sunday in São Lourenço de Bairro was captured on video and appeared as a torrent of red wine. No injuries were reported, but the wine may have entered a home’s basement, according to the distiller, Destilaria Levira, and the Portuguese news platform Jornal Diário de Aveiro.
Firefighters diverted the flow from a nearby river and into fields, the publication reported.
Clearly, someone made a pour decision.
Destilaria Levira said in a statement that the release happened after two storage tanks burst. The cause was under investigation.
The distillery apologized and said it would handle cleanup, repair and damage.
Jornal Diário de Aveiro said more than 580,000 gallons of wine ended up in streets.
Interestingly, history is replete with such events. One such example comes to us from 19th-century England: The London Beer Flood. In October of 1814, a 22-foot tall beer vat full of fermenting porter burst open, breaking open several large barrels of barley brew. As much as 323,000 Imperial gallons of beer ran into the streets. Sadly eight people were killed, including five mourners at a wake being held by an Irish family. How any beer at all managed to escape an Irish family remains unknown.
Then there was the Dublin Whiskey fire. In 1875, in Dublin (of course) a fire started in an Ardee Street warehouse, resulting in a river of flaming whiskey that ran down Cork Street, onto Ardee Street, and finally to Mill Street, where it started fires in several houses. Many Dublin residents responded with “Caps, porringers, and other vessels” to gather up the raging booze, resulting in 24 hospitalizations due to burns and alcohol poisoning.
Bear in mind that alcohol had to work overtime to poison any adult, in Dublin, in 1875. Their resistance would have been, shall we say, well-developed. The Irish do, after all, have the reputation that when it comes to drinking, they can do Henny-thing.
There have been similar accidents, such as the Great Molasses Flood of Boston in 1919, and the Pepsi Fruit Juice Flood in Lebedyan, Russia in 2017. It is unclear what fruit juices were involved in the Russian incident; my Russian vodka-bulary isn’t up to translating the original accounts.
Back to Portugal: The surplus of wine was gin-uinley due to the decreasing demand for wine in Europe. The European Union is examining ways to convert wine into biofuel, which one supposes is easier than turning water into wine, but just how much easier remains to be seen.
Wine aficionados will no doubt mourn the loss of so much of the fruit of the grape. Still; call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me that this batch of hooch was clearly born to rum, so there’s no reason to wine about it. The distillery will doubtless take stronger measures to prevent any further such incidents, and any ale-ments that have been caused by the accident will no doubt be handled aptly by Portugal’s modern health-care system, which is reputed to be prosecco-nd to none.
A precaution: Alcohol probably won’t solve all your problems. But it’s worth a shot.
This seems appropriate.