If you are inclined to believe the imperial measurement system*, it is exactly 130 gallons. The term butt comes from the French botte, which means boot. I do NOT know what botte and boot have to do with wine, but I DO know that a buttload of wine is the second largest size of wine barrel in which wine may be purchased.

The Heidelberg Tun is known to be the very largest wine barrel, but it is not for sale. Constructed in 1751, it has been housed in the cellars of Germany’s Heidelberg Castle since it was built by Prince Elector Karl Theodor. Under his direction, 130 oak trees were harvested to build the Tun, which holds more than 58,000 gallons of wine. There is actually a dance floor built on its top, which is 23 feet high and nearly 28 feet wide.

The hogshead barrel, holding a paltry 79 gallons is one of the larger standard sized wine barrels, but they are less popular than the 185 gallon barrels, according to the Seguin Moreau cooperage in France.

It’s a fact that there are oak wine containers larger, but they are referred to as tanks or vats, and are most often used for making Cognac, not wine. There is one on the market that holds 600,000 liters (158,503 gallons), but no price was listed. But if you can afford 600,000 liters of wine then the price for the vessel to store it in is quite inconsequential. 

*The Imperial Measurement System (or the Imperial System of Measurement) and the Metric System are the two main systems for measuring. The U.S. is one of the few countries worldwide who use the original Imperial system, based on miles, gallons and pounds. FYI: 1 liter equals .264172 gallons; 1 meter equals 3.28084 feet.

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Tracie Burket
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