The History of the Barrel
In the spring of 1934, the wine - grower and cooper Fritz Keller built the most original and largest memorial to German wine on the spacious sausage market of his home town Bad Dürkheim: the now world - famous " Giant Barrel ".
Wine - grower Keller got the idea of putting a memorial to Palatine and German wine in the form of a giant barrel at the beginning of the thirties when he was building a " normal - size " barrel for his cooper`s examination. After long preparations, he started to make his dream come true at the beginning of 1934. The project was enormous. In the Black Forest almost 200 pine trees were felled for the gigantic endeavour - each was about 40 metres high. For each of the 178 barrel staves, which were 15 meters long and 15 centimetres thick, a whole pine tree was needed. The transport of these extra - long pine trunks from the Black Forest to the Palatinate was possible only at night and with a special permission. Fritz Keller and his helpers worked with more than 200 cubic metres of wood to built the Giant Barrel with 13.5 meters in diameter and a cubic capacity of 1.7 million litres. After weeks of hard work, the Giant Barrel, which now catches the eye to the motorway Bad Dürkheim - Kaiserslautern, was finished.
Until 1934 the Giant Barrel at the Heidelberg Castle had been the largest barrel in the world. It is nine metres long, seven metres in diameter and had a cubic capacity of 221.000 litres. Unlike the giant Dürkheim barrel, its " brother from Heidelberg " had actually once been filled with wine. The inside of the Dürkheim Barrel corresponds to its rather original outside. On the ground floor there are artistically hand - carved barrel bottoms of oakwood hanging on the walls which tell the history of German wine. They are also very attractive eyecatches when seen from the gallery which can be climbed by visitors. Becauce of the great number of visitors, in 1956 a rustic and original wine bar for approximately 120 guests, built in the style of the Giant Barrel, was added. Furthermore, during the summer approximately 200 persons can sit comfortably outside in the shade of the Giant Barrel.
Renovations are made constantly to preserve the value of the barrel and to guarantee an agreeable stay to you, dear guest. We thank you for contributing to the preservation of the monument to German wine by visiting us.
The Thüne Family and Employees