Free red wine fountain opens in Italy

13th October, 2016 by Rupert Millar

The town of Caldari di Ortona in Abruzzo has installed a free, 24-hour wine fountain for passing pilgrims.

red-wine-fountainThe fountain was put in place by the Dora Sarchese winery and is primarily designed to quench the thirst of pilgrims taking the Cammino di San Tommaso, thousands of who pass by every year.

The winery has not said what wine is dispensed from the fountain but the region is the home of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG.

It added it was not there for people to get drunk but was a gift to the town and its pilgrims.

The town lies on the main pilgrimage route between Rome and Ortona on the Adriatic. The city’s cathedral is reputed to hold the remains of the apostle St Thomas which were brought to the church from the Greek island of Chios in 1258.

Ortona was also the site of a vicious fight between the Canadians and German paratroopers in the Moro River Campaign of 1943.

A similar wine fountain opened along the Camino de Santiago di Compostela in the 1990s outside of the monastery of Neustra Señora la Real in Irache. However, it is not open all the time and pilgrims must pay a small fee to fill their cups.

There is a long history in western Europe of both providing wine to pilgrims and more generally of public fountains that pour forth ‘hippocras’.

From Charlemagne to the French Revolution pilgrims making any one of the thousands of pilgrimages across Europe could be sure of a meal and beaker of wine at a monastery or abbey – which of course owned huge tracts of vineyards.

It was the practice of giving wine to pilgrims at the Liebfrauenstift in Worms that gave rise to ‘Liebfrauenmilch’, its rather lovely origins lost now through thorough bastardisation.

Medieval rulers in particular were quick to dish out wine to their subjects during holidays or celebrations.

Venice still wheels out a wine fountain in St Mark’s Sqaure during its carnival and the conduits of London regularly ran with wine to mark a royal birth or marriage or to fête the return of a victorious monarch such as Henry V after Agincourt.

Henry VIII had a wine fountain made for his meeting with Francis I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.henry-viii-wine-fountain

It features in a famous painting of the event where people can be seen enjoying themselves, even a little too much – one figure is clearly vomiting against the side of Henry’s pavilion and two others are having a punch-up (see picture, right).

A replica of the fountain featured in the painting was made in 2010 after the remains of one were found at Hampton Court in 2008. It and now sits at the palace and is known to flow with wine itself from time to time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
London and the South East, UK

Commercial Director

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Key Accounts Manager - Impulse Channel

Australian Vintage Limited
Croydon, Greater London, United Kingdom, GB

Sales Support Assistant

H2Vin Ltd
London, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, Surrey

Sales Order Processor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London NW10, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

Events & PR Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Partner Development Manager - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Field Based, UK

Head of Merchant Sales

Grapevine the Wineservice Company
Cumbria, UK

Business Development Manager – Central London

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
Field based – London, UK

Account Manager – Premium Restaurants, London

Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd
London (Central), UK

Field Sales Representative - Beer Innovation

Various locations, UK

Events Executive

The Drinks Business
London, UK

Area Sales Executive

Gordon & Macphail
Southern England (excluding London) and Inner London, UK

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 4th August 2017

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 4th August 2017

Click to view more

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Click to view more