The Crystal Cave is unique to Put-in-Bay, so be sure not to miss it during a vacation to the island. Located on the site of the Heineman Winery, this geological treasure pairs well with a visit to the Wine Garden at the Winery. Wine and crystals are a great combination.
The Crystal Cave is home to the world’s largest geode. The crystals are up to 3 feet in width and the walls are covered in strontium sulfate, a bluish mineral called celestite. These crystals can range anywhere from 8 to 18 inches in length.
The History of Crystal Cave
Miners discovered the cave in 1897. They were working to dig a well for the Winery and accidentally came upon this natural wonder. Originally workers harvested crystals from the cave to sell for the manufacturing of fireworks. This harvesting expanded the cave to its size today.
The Crystal Cave also played an important role in saving the Heineman Winery during Prohibition. When other wineries closed on the island, Norman Heineman, son of the founder Gustav had the brilliant idea to open the cave to the public. He sold tickets to the cave along with unfermented grape juice. Heineman’s survived Prohibition and is still a family owned business today.
Heineman’s offers tours of both the cave and the winery all week during the summer season. There is also a gift shop on site. The shop sells souvenirs from the cave as well as Heineman Wine. Enjoy a glass in the Wine Garden and take a home a bottle or two to savor. Take a case back to the mainland for friends. Specializing in sweet wines, favorite include the Pink Catawba and the mildly sweet Niagara.