• Germany's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

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
Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd