Everyone has heard of beer on tap, but wine on tap? That would be another story entirely and in this case, an altogether different type of tap; in fact, it was a water tap. Castelvetro, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, is normally a destination for food and wine enthusiasts from all over the world. Amid all of the anxiety in northern Italy, people living in the small village had a pleasant surprise when they turned on their kitchen faucets and found wine, rather than water, running from their taps!
Although this event sounds as though it is Biblical in nature, (John 2:1-11 – in which Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana), there was no divine intervention in this case. The cause was a mishap at a local winery which sent sparkling Lambrusco Grasparossa wine streaming through its residents’ plumbing systems.
The intoxicating dilemma affected about 20 homes in Castelveto, located ten miles south of Modena and was the result of a technical fault at the nearby Cantina Settecani winery. The glitch lasted about three hours. Giorgia Mezzacqui, Deputy Mayor of Castelvetro said, “At a time where we have very little to smile about, I’m glad we brought some levity to others. Hopefully someday they’ll remember us and will want to come visit us,” adding, “small towns such as Castelvetro are the engine propelling an extraordinary nation, but now we need everybody’s help to survive.”
The problem began when a silo holding the wine started leaking into the water pipes. The malfunction was caused by a faulty valve in the washing circuit within the bottling line. Apparently, due to the much higher pressure in the immense wine storage vessel, the effervescent wine was shot into the water main and directed into nearby houses. When the residents turned on their taps, the sparking red wine (now a bubbly shade of pink) gushed out instead of water.
Residents bottled as much of the Grasparossa as possible before technicians from the water board were able to place a ‘cork’ in the predicament. The winery estimated that close to 1,500 bottles worth of the wine entered the water system.
In a posting on Facebook the winery announced, “Lambrusco Grasparossa came out of some taps in the Settecani district this morning. The accident did not involve hygienic or health risks: it was only wine, which was already ready for bottling.”
Despite the obvious drawbacks, washing one’s hands with sparkling red wine is not ideal, let alone washing clothing; both the winery and the residents were able to see the lighter side. Along with a slideshow of media reports about the incident, the winery wrote: “How do you prefer it, in the bottle or from the tap?”
One Facebook user responded, “The next time, please open the valve from 7:30pm onwards for happy hour.”
Fabrizio Amorotti, commercial manager at Cantina Settecani, said the malfunction “was appreciated by many. Some residents in the areas called us to warn us about the malfunction and to share they were bottling the wine!”
The local town council issued an apology for the incident and some residents did voice concerns about the safety of the water supply; but the majority of the villagers took the unique incident in stride and treated the free wine as their own little miracle.