Guests on the Alsace Untour have plenty of time to explore the Route des Vins and visit wineries and tasting rooms in this scenic wine region. They will also have time to explore Strasbourg. But it is easy to miss one of Alsace’s cost compelling wine destinations, deep under the city streets.
At its founding in 1395, the Strasbourg Hospices was a charitable hospital, offering sheltering food and lodging to pilgrims and the poors, alongside medical care. The cost of care in the countryside at the time was often paid in kind, in land and harvest both.
Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the hospital held vineyards as payments. To protect its investments, the Historic Cellar of the Strasbourg Hospices was developed and used to store wines produced on these properties, along with grain.
The oldest of the historic wine barrels dates from 1472, quite possibly making it the oldest barrel-aging wine in the world! It has been tapped on only a few historic occasions, most recently in 1944 to honor General Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque for liberating the city of Strasbourg in WWII.
You’ll find dusty oak casks aging Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Klevener, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir, all of Alsace appellation or Alsace Grand Cru appellation. Wines continue to be produced on private land holdings and are aged here.
Enjoy a visit to the wine caves and the rest of beautiful Strasbourg. Plan ahead for a tasting, and be sure to visit the gift shop and buy a couple bottles of the house wine to enjoy back at home, in your Alsace Untour apartment. Cheers!