The first ‘wine fountain’ just opened in Italy – and it’s free

Red wine flowing from a fountain, offering a refreshment at the end of a long walk... it sounds too good to be true, but on Sunday, a wine fountain was inaugurated in central Italy.

The first 'wine fountain' just opened in Italy - and it's free
Italy's best fountain? Photo: Dora Sarchese Vineyard

Locally-produced wine will flow from the fountain in Abruzzo, the first of its kind, and it's accessible 24/7.

The best part? It's completely free to help yourself to a glass.

The fontana del vino is located in Caldari di Ortona, in Abruzzo, along a popular pilgrimage route, the Cammino di San Tommaso.

Photo: Dora Sarchese Vineyard

“The wine fountain is a welcome, the wine fountain is poetry,” the Dora Sarchese vineyard wrote on its Facebook page.

It noted that the fountain was not a place for “drunkards” or “louts”, nor was it a “publicity stunt”.

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists make the journey from Rome to Ortona, in order to visit the city's cathedral where the remains of Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, are kept. The new fountain is a joint project of the vineyard and the non-profit organization which maintains and promoted the pilgrimage route.

Inspiration came from a similar red wine fountain installed along the Spanish pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, a few years ago.

Tourists watch red wine flow from the fountain. Photo: Dora Sarchese Vineyard

The Ortona fountain is not the first in Italy to offer wine, but its creators describe it as the country's first 'proper' wine fountain, because the wine will be accessible every day. 

Some other fountains in Italy have been used to distribute wine, but only on special occasions such as local festivals. One of the most famous is in Marino, south of Rome; during the town's annual grape festival, for one hour white wine rather than water flows from the taps.

In 2008, a technical error – or was it a miracle? – saw the wine of Marino channelled into local homes instead of the fountain.



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Italian village residents find Lambrusco wine coming out of their taps

People living in a small village near Modena, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, got a surprise on Wednesday when they turned on their kitchen taps and got wine instead of water.

Italian village residents find Lambrusco wine coming out of their taps
File photo: Flickr/Nardino

Not a miracle, but a fault at a nearby winery meant wine had accidentally been pumped into the local water supply, technicians later discovered.

Residents said the smell of the pink liquid coming out of their taps was unmistakably that of the locally-produced Lambrusco Grasparossa, local newspaper Gazzetta di Modena reported.

The wine ended up being piped into homes in the Castelvetro area of Modena from the nearby Settecani winery after a “technical fault” in one of the winery's silos meant wine was leaking into its water pipes. As the wine reportedly had a higher pressure than the water in the pipes, it began to run through the system and into nearby homes.

The local water board quickly sent technicians to put things back to normal – but not before residents “bottled as much of the precious liquid as they could,” wrote the Gazzetta di Modena, “to enjoy later at a lunch or dinner along with other typical Modenese specialties.”

The local council issued an apology for the incident on Facebook, and while some village residents voiced concern about the safety of their water supply, other complaints were directed at the council and local water company for fixing the problem too quickly.

Though Lambrusco doesn't have the best reputation abroad, Modena's Lambrusco DOC is a well-regarded lightly sparkling red wine with a complex flavour and a history dating back to Etruscan times.

READ ALSO: Not just Prosecco: here are the other Italian sparkling wines you need to try