Jan 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Gallons of red wine flood California river

In this image, two rows of wine barrels are stacked on top of each other.

Wooden wine barrels in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Calif. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

46,000 gallons of a 97,000-gallon winery tank spilled into Northern California's Russian River roughly 65 miles north of San Francisco this week, the Washington Post reports.

Catch up quick: The wine spill, which was 20% contained on Wednesday, might be the largest in the history of Healdsburg, located in California's Wine Country. Two vacuum trucks were enlisted to help clean up the wine — which was reportedly cabernet sauvignon from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

  • “We’re lucky in that it’s winter, the river is high, there’s a fair amount of dilution,” Don McEnhill, executive director of Russian Riverkeeper, told KABC-TV. “We haven’t had any reports of fish kills, certainly the biochemical oxygen demand and the acidity of the wine is going to kill some smaller insect type things that are fish food.”

The bottom line: The vineyard, which is participating in the cleanup, could face misdemeanor charges or penalties, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife told KABC-TV.

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