The perception of size is cleverly manipulated in the castle's wine cellar: you descend the stairs and voila! You see a large wine barrel to your right. "Surely, this must be it?" you ask. No, THIS was just the little one that "only" holds 45,000 lites.
DAS GROSSE FASS (Vat / Tun):
This beauty can hold 221,726 litres (approx. 55,000 gallons) of wine.
Historically this and all other of these barrels were used to collect the tithe (tax) wine from wine growers in the Kurpfalz area. This means that their contents were mostly a mixture of many wines (ouch! I feel a headache coming on...!)
NOTE: the walls of the wine cellar are covered in signatures & messages. It's an unspoken tradition for German and foreign visitors alike to eternalize your visit when tasting wines here.
Heidelberg Castle has a history of enormous barrels:
1. Johann-Casimir-Fass (1591)
2. Karl-Ludwig-Fass (1664)
3. Karl-Philipp-Fass (1728)
4. Karl-Theodor-Fass (1751)
Whilst here, read the story of Perkeo, the ancient alcoholic dwarf who apparently only drank wine, and died after drinking pure water (well, depending on the hygiene of the water in those days, it doesn't surprise me!) and pull the string in the little box on the wall ;-) You can climb the stairs to the top of the barrel, where a dance floor was installed for grand functions in the wine cellar. Take part in some wine tasting, and of course buy as many bottles as you can carry and afford! Speaking of "grand functions": the wine cellar is a popular location for weddings!
"From the Grape to the Hangover:"
Heidelberg lies in the south-western state of Baden Wuerttemberg, right in the centre of Germany's largest wine-growing areas. The shores of the Neckar River are especially fertile & give the wines of our region a distinct flavour & character (I recommend the whites and rose wines...not so much the reds): An analysis of the soil shows that it predominantly consists of loess (a fine & grainy composition of clay and silt). Certain local wines regularly receive national awards.
"There are more old wine drinkers than old doctors." - German Proverb.
"Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved." - Medieval German Saying.
--> Waalewiener's video of VTers in the wine cellar of Heidelberg Castle, June 2008.
Now, this thing really is a curiosity: Inside one of the rooms of the castle, you'll find what is certainly the biggest understatement I've ever heard - the "Große Fass", in English "Big Barrel". But this wine barrel is not only big, it's huge! It's gigantic! It's sooooo big that you could easily live inside it with your whole family. A sign mentions that more than 220.000 liters of wine would fit in there. Unfortunately, it doesn't say whether it has ever been filled... Imagine that party: every Heidelberg citizen would have almost 2 liters of wine to drink for him or herself! And as though this weren't enough, another barrel only slightly smaller also waits to be filled...
In the basement of the Heidelberg Castle you can visit the big wine barrell.
It's the fourth big wine barrell build for the castle and the present one on display was completed in 1751 when Karl Theodor reigned. The volume is 221.726 Liters, but it always has leaked and so, never was used to store wine.
The wine barrels are so famous that despite being inside Heidelberg Castle, they have to have their own tip (that's unusual on my pages). The Neckar valley vineyards had to pay their taxes in wine to the castle and there was an awful lot of wine consumed here in the old days as the water quality was appaling and a health hazard. Consequently, wine barrels became bigger and bigger and the most famous one today is from 1751 and so big that you can walk on top of it! If you go on a guided tour of the castle, this is where the tour will end, but otherwise you can get in here on your own as there is a "tourist trap" type of a wine tasting area here now.
The largest wine cask ever produced, said to hold 50,000 gallons. Has a dancefloor on top too! Beside it is a statue of a dwarf who allegedly emptied it himself? Did a few calculations myself - if it was full of beer - and at my usual rate of consumption and if I'd started at the legal age to drink (18 in the UK) I'd still have about 30 years to go until it was empty.............photo borrowed, my pathetic camera couldn't cope with the darkness, again.
Visit the schloss (castle) and try to draw wine from the Kleine Fass barrel which can hold about 45,000 liters of wine if memory serves me right. That's me trying to keep my balance by holding on to the barrel after drinking a BIG goblet of wine from it! Heheh. Not really, couldn't get the tap of the barrel to turn! Bummer!
This wing was specially constructed to hold two gigantic wine-barrels. The 1751 barrel holds 221,726 litres, the 1662 barrel a mere 45,000 litres. The guardian of the barrels at one time was a dwarf named Perkeo - he was said to have drunk 10-12 lites of wine a day and lived to the 'ripe' age of 83 when he died after drinking a glass of water. Must have been the shock to the system!
You can see on the right side of the picture a series of steps that lead up to the top of the wine barrel. I wonder if those people on top think this is the world's largest wine barrel?
This is reputed to be the world's largest wine barrel situated in Heidelburg. You can see Anna and Tal sitting near the bottom on a regualr sized wine barrel which holds 220 liters of wine.