Firefighters Called to Save 420-Gallon Bottle of Red Wine

After a power failure in its display case, the 10-foot-tall glass bottle of red wine was at risk of bursting.
Bettina Makalintal
Brooklyn, US
Photo by jeka1984 via iStock/Getty Images Plus

In late January, six firefighters in the Austrian town of Lustenau were dispatched to the restaurant Engel Wang Fu. Instead of a fire or a gas leak or whatever you might expect from a restaurant that needs the fire department, the reason for the call was not that: Instead, it was a leaky bottle of wine, per The Drinks Business. While Engel Wang Fu is known in part for its variety of decently-reviewed Chinese and Japanese food, the restaurant is perhaps best known for its absolutely gargantuan wine bottle. Alas, the near-10-foot-tall behemoth was leaking.


In 2017, the German manufacturing company De Dietrich Process Systems made what has been called the world's largest glass bottle. Forty inches in diameter and with a foot-wide neck, the bottle can hold over 2,000 bottles of wine, so—because why not?—De Dietrich worked with Austria's Keringer Winery to fill it with red wine and presented it to Engel Wang Fu, where it has sat displayed inside a cooled glass case ever since.

What prompted the fire department's visit, however, was that the giant bottle began to leak. Despite a 2017 assurance on De Dietrich's website that the bottle "easily resists [the] hydrostatic pressure generated when it is completely filled," a power failure in the case made the bottle warm and allowed some of its parts to expand, according to Die Presse. The leak caused concern that the whole would burst, potentially flooding the restaurant with around 420 gallons of wine.

After making a sandbag barrier to protect the restaurant, the firefighters—who probably don't see this every day—drilled a hole in the bottle's 11-inch-wide cork. They pumped out the wine using equipment from a local dairy and a cider factory, according to the Drinks Business and German news site Kurier, losing only about 60 gallons of wine in the process.

The remaining 359 or so gallons will be poured and sold by the glass, so at least someone still gets to drink it. As a person on-site told Die Presse, the wine luckily still tastes "great."