The Miracle of Marino

Italian grape festival’s attempts at turning water into wine backfire

The fountain of the four moors during the Marino Grape Festival.

The fountain of the four moors during the Marino Grape Festival.

Regular readers to our email may be familiar with a wine we featured earlier this month, I Quattro Mori by Castel de Paolis. The “quattro mori” or “four moors” are recalled by a large fountain in the main square of the town of Marino (above), in the winemaking hills just south of Rome.

Marino plays host to the Sagra dell’Uva festival, an annual event recognizing the historic victory of a local admiral, though essentially an excuse to enjoy the local production from the Castelli Romani. Each year the 17th century fountain emits the latest vintage, but this year’s crowd of gatherers — plastic cups at the ready — was left disappointed. The increasingly impatient wine lovers were about to voice their frustration when a woman’s cry of “Miracolo!” came bellowing down from an apartment balcony. The town’s plumbers had evidently got their pipes confused, and instead of spurting from the village fountain, wine was now flowing from the faucets of a Marino resident.

The woman, named Anna, was about to mop the kitchen floor when she noticed her bucket was filled not with water, but sparkling white wine. “I called my neighbors and they had the same problem,” she explained. “Soon everyone was filling up bottles with wine!” Marino’s mayor, Adriano Palozzi, was quick to play down the problem. “People are calling it a miracle, which it wasn’t. Several houses have been affected and workmen are working on the problem which obviously came about through technical error.”

Read more on this story here.

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