The Schwedenfass

The Swedish Barrel - Schwedenfass Pascal Reusch, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Legend of the Schwedenfass: Housing the Priceless Jahrtausendwein

Situated beneath the Würzburg Residence, the State Court Cellar is home to the famed “Schwedenfass” or Swedish barrel. This unique wine barrel holds a significant place in history, originally constructed to safeguard the renowned “Jahrtausendwein“, a priceless vintage from the year 1540

In 1683, the esteemed Würzburg Prince Bishop Konrad von Wernau commissioned the construction of the renowned “Schwedenfass” to safeguard the remaining bottles of the “Jahrtausendwein,” an invaluable “once-in-a-millennium wine” from the illustrious vintage of 1540. Remarkably, during the barrel’s construction, the remnants of the “Jahrtausendwein” were already nearly 150 years old.


War, Secrecy, and the Burial of the Schwedenfass

 Amid the tumultuous Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), a pivotal moment unfolded as Swedish troops approached Würzburg. In a hurried attempt to shield their cherished “Jahrtausendwein” from advancing forces, the citizens of Würzburg buried the “Schwedenfass” by the bottle in the forest in 1631, just before King Gustav Adolf stormed Marienberg Fortress. Regrettably, the knowledge of the burial site was lost during the chaos of war, leading to the belief that this extraordinary wine had vanished forever.

However, in 1683, a stroke of luck occurred when the remaining bottles were accidentally discovered in the Gramschatzer Forest near Würzburg. Prince Bishop Konrad von Wernau took decisive action, overseeing the construction of a new barrel, the “Schwedenfass.” The priceless wine was delicately transferred from the aging bottles to this new vessel, christened “Schwedenfass” to commemorate the wine’s extraordinary history.


The Royal Intervention: Ludwig II and the Empty Schwedenfass 

Over the years, the stock of the “Jahrtausendwein” within the “Schwedenfass” gradually diminished as patrons indulged in tastings, savoring the historical flavors encapsulated within each sip.

Presently, the “Schwedenfass” stands as an empty testament to history. Bavarian King Ludwig II played a role in its transformation when he had the Riesling wine bottled and auctioned off to finance the construction of his opulent castles.



While the “Schwedenfass” is a substantial wine barrel, it distinguishes itself from the significantly larger “Great Wine Barrels,” such as the Great Heidelberger Tun.. For a more comprehensive understanding, explore the captivating narratives surrounding the “Jahrtausendwein” and the Thirty-Years-War, including the legendary tale of “The Master Draught.”

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