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Tonnellerie Ô Introduces French Oak Futaie Barrels and Launches Master Cooper Selections Program

Posted on January 12, 2017

Tonnellerie Ô, the Benicia cooperage, introduces its line of French Oak Futaie barrels made from trees harvested from within the French National Forest System, the Forêt Domaniale. Each Futaie Barrel comes with a certificate of authenticity, guaranteeing the oak’s origin."

For centuries, the Government of France has overseen the management of forests in northern and central France. The “Futaie” system of sylviculture—a careful thinning out of trees to cultivate those of the highest quality—results in the best oak wood in the world, prized for its fine grain, purity and rare uniformity. The Office National des Forêts or ONF was founded in 1964 and enforces sustainable forestry practices to make sure that the supply of this valuable natural resource endures for centuries to come. To produce the Futaie barrels, Tonnellerie Ô works with family-owned stave mills that have been crafting staves of the highest quality for generations. The Futaie barrels are offered in two formats—the Bordeaux Thin Stave (225L) and the Burgundy Export (228L). Proprietary toasting is designed to bring out the very best, most natural expression of the barrel.

Tonnellerie Ô has also launched a first-of-its-kind French Oak Master Cooper Selections program to offer winemakers the complete forest-to-barrel experience. Winemaker Bob Cabral and Assistant Winemaker Ryan Prichard of Three Sticks Wines in Sonoma County were the first to participate in the program. They accompanied Tonnellerie Ô Master Cooper Quinn Roberts to France, where they explored the oak forests and visited the families who cultivate these ancient trees. The Three Sticks winemaking team received in-depth information on French forest management and the French Forest Commission, as Roberts helped them select oak wood for their Master Cooper barrels. The team also toured family-owned stave mills, like the historic mill managed by Nathalie Gauthier and her family, to view first-hand the process of seasoning and sorting. The group dined “en famille” with their hosts and also stopped in to some of the region’s finest wineries and restaurants.

After the oak staves were delivered to the Tonnellerie Ô cooperage in Benicia, Cabral was able to follow the barrel making process from beginning to end, determining his own custom formats and barrel toasting. A video of this toasting session, complete with a discussion between Master Cooper Roberts, Cabral, Prichard and the rest of the Three Sticks winemaking team, can be found on the Tonnellerie Ô YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb7_tuTQ0lw

The Master Cooper Selections program is limited to twelve participating wineries per year, and requires a minimum purchase of twelve barrels.

About Tonnellerie Ô
Tonnellerie Ô is a state-of-the-art cooperage near the heart of Northern California wine country, where artisan coopers hand-craft, hand-toast and hand-finish French and American oak barrels. Production methods feature innovative design and equipment from R. Monnot, SA, including a multi-stage jointer that is one of a handful of its kind in the world. In addition to pioneering technology, our coopers employ time-honored practices, such as barrel toasting in our traditional 2,500 square foot brick lined toasting room. Collectively, our Master Cooper and his team have nearly a century of experience crafting artisan barrels. For more information on Tonnellerie Ô, please visit: www.tonnellerieo.com

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