Winemakers painted the small Portuguese town of São Lourenco do Bairro red after two of its tanks accidentally spilt 2.2 million litres of red wine down a quiet street.
A fast-moving river of red wine flowed down a steep hill in the small town, near the coast of Portugal, after two tanks owned by Levira Distillery suddenly gave way on Sunday.
Baffled locals looked on as the wine, nearly enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool, swept through the streets of the town.
The spill was so massive that local officials triggered an environmental alert and were forced to divert the wine to stop it from contaminating the nearby Certima River.
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Anadia Fire Department blocked off the flood and diverted it away from the river, where it ran harmlessly into a field, reports local media.
Firefighters said that a basement in a home near the distillery was flooded with wine.
Levira has since apologised and said it later dredged the wine-soaked land.
‘We assume full responsibility for the costs associated with cleaning and repairing the damage, having teams available to do so immediately.
‘We are committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible.’
Though the river of wine could have caused an environmental mishap, experts have said that drinking a wide variety of red wine is good for your gut.
The streets of Levira, Portugal were flooded with red wine after a distillery’s 2.2 million liter tanks burst.
— Pop Base (@PopBase) September 11, 2023
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said that drinking a wide variety of wines may have the same benefit that having a varied diet does.
‘My advice for wine lovers,’ he said, ‘is keep loving wine and still drink wine, primarily for the pleasure, but at the back of your mind think, could I be trying different bottles or varieties that might actually be healthier for me and that I might enjoy?
‘Diversity is also important – if you take the analogy from foods, having a range of different grape varieties in your diet means that you are going to be helping different gut microbes inside you and you will increase your your gut health and diversity.
‘So don’t just stick with the same wine. Get out there. Try the hundreds or thousands of different grape varieties that we generally don’t enjoy.
‘Let’s get those rare ones back on the map again because each of those could be helping you nourish really healthy gut microbes inside you and improve your health.’
A study led by Professor Spector’s team in 2019, involving participants in the UK, US and Belgium, found people who drank red wine had a wider range of gut bacteria, which is linked to better gut health.
This was not seen for white wine, which may be because red wine has the grape skins left in for most of the fermentation process, so has high levels of polyphenols – plant compounds which are good for the gut and can reduce the inflammation in the body linked to poor health in older people.