Imagine a wine barrel that contains enough wine to drink a bottle of wine a day for the next 370 years. “I can’t live without that!” thought Prince Maximilian Dietrichstein. So in 1643 he ordered the people of Mikulov to build the currently biggest wine barrel of the Czech Republic.
The 6,2 metres long barrel, with a diameter of 5,2 metres, is located deep down in the cellars of the Milulov Castle. It was actually built to prevent unemployment and was used to let poor farmers pay tax with wine. Because of the huge dimensions of the barrel, it had to be build directly within the cellar. It turned out to be big enough to contain about 101.400 litres of wine. (That is 137 500 bottles of wine. Cheers!) Even though it is not officially the biggest wine barrel in Europe, it is the biggest one that has been proven to be used for actual wine storage.
You will not be able to drink all the wine in the barrel within any reasonable time, even if you invite all your friends. However, legend has it that when the Swedish army camped near Mikulov, it only took them less than a month to empty the whole barrel. Unfortunately nowadays the barrel is not used any more.
You can only visit the wine barrel with a guided tour that lasts about 30 minutes and will cost 50 CZK (in 2015). Even though we expected a rather large barrel, standing right next to it is still impressive and definitely worth the tour. English audio guides are available.
More information about the barrel and opening hours is available at: http://www.rmm.cz/english/vstupne_rmm.html
Picture above: Mikulov Castle, by czechwineadventures.com
Picture of barrel by: Regionální muzeum v Mikulově – http://www.rmm.cz