12th February, 2016 by Rupert Millar
The biggest barrel in the world, capable of holding 300,000 litres of wine, has been made in the Languedoc.
Twelve metres long, six metres in diameter and weighing 40 tonnes, the barrel was made for Languedoc estate, Château Puech Haut.
The barrel was made by local carpenter Noussyet and required 37 tonnes of oak to complete.
The monstrous creation will now be placed outside the winery and while it is capable of holding hundreds of thousands of litres of wine, it will not be used for this purpose.
The estate’s owner, Gérard Bru, has said it will most likely be used for events and may even become home to a wine shop.
This is not the first gigantic barrel to emerge from France. In 1878 and then most famously in 1885 Eugene Mercier of the eponymous Champagne house had gained a reputation for bringing huge barrels to the various Paris Exhibitions.
His first creation was a relatively small cask that could hold a rather paltry 75,000 bottles. The next and most famous cask that debuted in 1885 could hold 200,000 litres of wine and was in fact used for that purpose too, being filled completely only once in its working life courtesy of the enormous 1887 harvest.
Towed to Paris by 24 oxen and 18 horses for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, two bridges collapsed under its weight and Mercier had to buy five adjoined houses in Paris which he summarily tore down so he would have somewhere to park it.
The barrel, no longer a winemaking tool, is today displayed at Mercier’s winery in Epernay.
Château Puech Haut meanwhile is also well-known for barrel-related art, Bru invites various artists, some extremely well-known, to decorate the (normal-sized) barriques from his cellar. Many are now in display in art galleries and collections around the world.