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French barrel producers create wood appellations

>> Monday, September 07, 2009

The French barrel making federation (Tonneliers de France) have created a “charter”, which, like an appellation controlée for wine, defines the origin of the wood used to making the barrel. The charter states that if a barrel is labelled as “French” then 100% of the wood has to be of French origin, whereas if a more precise designation is used only 70% of the wood needs to have that origin. For example, a Limousin barrique must contain 70% wood from the Limousin region, the rest coming from other forests in France. The charter also wants to suppress the designations Nevèrs and Tronçais. “There are no forests in Nevèrs” explains François Peltreaux-Villeneuve, CEO of the barrel maker Seguin Moreau Napa. The approved geographic origins for the wood are: Le Centre, Limousin, L’Est, and Le Nord. Some coopers have already moved to classifying their barrels according to the tightness of the grain instead of by geographic origin (cf. for instance our piece on Radoux in the last Brief). All 43 members of Tonnelier de France are said to have signed up to the charter. They represent some 90% of French production.


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