Red wine flows from taps in Italian town, brings 'a little lightness' amid coronavirus crisis

TORONTO -- For about three hours, red wine flowed from the taps of some kitchen sinks and bathtubs in a northern Italy town last week.

A valve malfunction at the Cantina Settecani winery south of Modena caused Lambrusco Grasparossa, a sparkling red wine, to seep into the Castelvetro town water system. Images and video shared on social media showed the wine flowing from kitchen and bathroom faucets. The wine was reportedly ready for bottling.

The lighthearted news comes during an anxious time for people in northern Italy, where more than 5,000 people have been infected with a novel coronavirus that has killed more than 200 in the country. The red wine valve malfunction brought some much-needed humour to the region, acknowledged Giorgia Mezzacqui, the deputy mayor of Castelvetro, saying Italy is in “full emergency” mode as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“In moments when unfortunately there are few smiles… I am happy that in our small way we have brought a little lightness to people's hearts and thoughts,” Mezzacqui wrote in an email to

“I admit that we did not expect so much hilarity and within a few hours the news went beyond our borders, bringing smiles too.”

The deputy mayor added that the area has seen an overwhelming number of travel cancellations, which have impacted businesses in the region.

“We live in difficult times,” she wrote. “To survive we need everyone's help. I am therefore very pleased if the name Castelvetro is turning well beyond the borders. Who knows that one day someone will remember us and want to come and visit us.”

The municipality and winery said there was no threat to residents associated with the malfunction. “The accident did not involve hygienic or health risks: it was only wine,” a translation of the winery post on Facebook reads.

They later shared a video highlighting news coverage of the incident, writing with a laughing emoji: “And how do you prefer it, in the bottle or from the tap?"

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