Here in the cellar of the Vereinigte Hospitien in Trier, you can grasp the heritage of Roman times with your hands. The origins of this wine cellar, the oldest in Germany, reach back to the year 330 when Emperor Constantine ordered that two giant storehouses be built to hold grain and wine from the Roman estates along the Mosel.
In Roman times, this imperial storehouse was 70 metres long and 20 metres wide, making it the largest non-residential Roman building north of the Alps. A part of the walls, reaching up to eight meters, is still preserved, forming a part of the wine cellars of the modern day wine estate of the Vereinigte Hospitien. Its entrance is decorated by a very well-preserved clay brick floor from Roman times.
The charitable institution itself was created in 1804 by edict of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. He securalised several catholic monasteries existing here before, combining their former possessions to form one institution to care for wounded soldiers, the old and the sick. He also took over the property of vineyards from the former cloisters and monasteries, among them some of the best vineyard sites along the Mosel and the Saar river, and formed the Weingut der Vereinigte Hospitien estate to raise revenues for these institutions.
Today, the Vereinigte Hospitien is a non-profit public foundation which maintains a seniors and rest home. The vineyards are managed by the wine estate Vereinigte Hospitien which also possesses the proof for the early cultivation of Riesling on the Mosel: in 1464, Riesling was mentioned in one of the accounts books of the Saint Jacob Hospital. Still today, 90 percent of the 25 hectares of vineyards owned by the wine estate, are still cultivated with Riesling. The wine estate is a member of the Association of German Quality and Prädikat Wine Estates, the VDP, and owns the most famous vineyard sites Trierer Augenschein, Wiltinger Hölle on the Saar river and the Saarfelder Schlossberg in Serrig.