• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Behemoth wine barrel to be tapped after 400 years

DDP/The Local · 29 Jul 2010, 16:09

Published: 29 Jul 2010 16:09 GMT+02:00

The oak barrel in the town of Halberstadt measures five metres in diameter and holds about 144,000 litres of wine. Even empty, it weighs about 63 tonnes. Guiness World Records calls it the oldest giant wine cask in the world.

On Friday local restaurateur Chris Schöne will crack the seal and serve red wine to a massive gathering including the Danish ambassador and a descendant of Lord Ludwig von Spiegel, who rescued the cask from decay in the 18th century.

Craftsmen in the nearby town of Gröningen took two years to build the cask, finishing in 1594. It was filled the same year in time for the wedding of the Duke of Brunswick, Heinrich Julius, to Princess Elisabeth of Denmark.

It took them 12 years to drink the cask dry, after which it fell into neglect. In a letter to Fredrick the Great, the Halberstadt Lord Ludwig von Spiegel asked if he might shift the barrel to his hunting lodge – a request that was granted.

In 1781, it was placed into a specially built cellar in the nobleman's hunting lodge.

This time, however, it won’t be filled to bursting – only topped up with 4,000 litres of Dornfelder red wine from the Rhineland-Palatinate.

Restaurateur Schöne, 28, said a lack of sponsors had until now meant the cask had sat empty for more than 400 years.

“I had the idea long time ago, it just kept lacking a spark to get the thing lit,” he said.

He finally found a winemaker. Tourism authorities in Halberstadt also saw an opportunity.

Story continues below…

“The wine barrel may get many more visitors interested,” said Doris Rünzel, who is in charge of organising a three-day festival in the town to mark the re-opening of the cask.

Despite the massive quantity of booze, she promised a peaceful celebration.

“The artists chosen are for a contemplative and harmonious approach, for which the town justly known,” she said.

Related links:

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

00:31 July 30, 2010 by fshoemak
Please, please, please find away to sell me some of what I believe will be one heck of a wine.

Being of German heritage I believe I deserve a little taste.

Freddie
16:44 August 4, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
Mach schnell! Get it while it lasts! It only holds about 144,000 liters... It took 12 years to drink it the first time.
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,653
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd