Italy might be in the grips of a deadly coronavirus outbreak, but hard-pressed citizens in the north of the country recently got some much-needed respite from the country’s dire situation.
For a few hours last Wednesday, red wine flowed freely from the taps of some kitchen sinks, bathtubs and showerheads in the northerly town of Castelvetro.
A valve malfunction at a local winery caused 1 000 litres of ready-to-be-bottled Lambrusco Grasparossa, a sparkling red wine, to leak into the town’s water pipes.
The glitch lasted about three hours and impacted about 20 homes, said Giorgia Mezzacqui, deputy mayor of Castelvetro.
Hilarious home videos posted online show villagers attempting to wash dishes or quench their thirst, only to find the red wine-hued liquid pouring from their pipes.
“The accident didn’t involve hygiene or health risks: it was only wine, which was already ready for bottling,” the winery said in a post on Facebook. The town’s local council also issued an apology.
Although slightly inconvenient, the incident provided a moment of levity to a town that's in the centre of the country’s crippling coronavirus crisis – which has hit northern Italy the hardest.
“In moments when, unfortunately, there are few smiles – I’m happy that in our small way we’ve brought a little lightness to people's hearts and thoughts,” Mezzacqui wrote in an email to CTVNews.ca.
“I admit that we didn’t expect so much hilarity and within a few hours the news went beyond our borders, [spreading] smiles.”
The malfunction was caused by a faulty valve in the washing circuit within the bottling line at Cantina Settecani winery.
Eventually, the wine travelled through the pipes of a nearby aqueduct, which moves water from its source to its distribution point.
Because the wine created a higher pressure than normal, it began to circulate through drinking water pipes in some houses close to the wine cellar, reports Popular Mechanics.
Castelvetro, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, is normally a destination for food and wine enthusiasts from all over the world. Since the outbreak though, 80% of tourism venues in the area have had cancellations, Deputy Mayor Mezzacqui said.
Small towns such as Castelvetro are "the engine propelling an extraordinary nation, but now we need everybody's help to survive," she told CNN.