The hospital in Strasbourg has a rather unusual department: a wine cellar! An extraordinary visit not to be missed, whether you’re a wine lover or not.
A bit of history
You might not think that, just by going down a few steps to the Historic Wine Cellar of Strasbourg Hospital, you’d be delving into history! Indeed, you’ll travel through time to the Middle Ages, which is when this magnificent vaulted cellar, measuring 1,200 sq. metres, was built. At that time, hospital bills were often paid in kind, by giving the hospital part of a harvest or some farmland. That’s why the hospital needed a cellar, where it could store wine and other perishables. Today, the wines aging in the Cellar’s barrels are exceptional, selected in a blind process from partner winegrowers who restored the Cellar in the 1990s to preserve this centuries-old tradition.
See the oldest white wine in the world
In the Cellar, after crossing through the barrel gallery containing fifty gigantic casks, some of which date back to the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries (wow!), you’ll see three barrels, secured behind a gate. One of them is from 1472, and it contains the world’s oldest white wine in a barrel. Although this wine can no longer be drunk (an oenological and scientific display explains why), it has nonetheless been served 3 times in the past 5 centuries, for example, to General Leclerc when he liberated Strasbourg in 1944.
An extraordinary visit
Whenever I bring friends to visit the Historic Wine Cellar of Strasbourg Hospital, I know they’ll be surprised! No one expects to find a wine cellar in a hospital. What’s more, every time, thanks to the special atmosphere of the place, we always have an amazing experience! And you can also learn lots about the rich winegrowing tradition in Alsace, without even leaving Strasbourg. You’ll discover all the little secrets behind the finest wines of Alsace, such as the grape varieties, how they’re aged, the different vintages, and more.
You can either explore the cellar on your own, for free, or hire an audio guide. And, twice a year, during open house, the winegrowers hold a wine-tasting event.