France is celebrated the world over for its culture, good taste, and refinement. It’s with this art de vivre which produced so many renowned crus and wines that French coopers built up their expertise. From one century to the next, they established close ties with wine growers. Because of this, their products are now an unquestioned reference and a sign of confidence, for exceptional wines around the world to impart their full expression and achieve excellence.
Coopers have inherited 2,000 years of tradition. They have always had a fully active role in the fascinating world of wines. The development of wine followed the development of civilizations and became one of the symbols of the refinement of civilizations. The Gauls mastered barrel-making for the barrels they used for the famous cervoise. They also filled barrels with pitch and hurled them at Roman soldiers. Coopers in France formed guilds beginning in the 9th century. In 1268, they submitted their statutes to the High Judges for approval. The statutes were confirmed and supplemented by Charles VII, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV. In 1669, Louis XIV issued an ordinance governing the status of forests which is still in effect today.
In the early 1970s, an emerging interest in new barrels for maturing wine was a turning point for the profession of cooper. On the faith of the expertise they’re recognized for, coopers have become the exclusive suppliers for prestigious vineyards in France and around the world. With this privilege comes the responsibility to reinforce relationships. And so, a new era began for the Fédération des Tonneliers de France.
The Federation now has roughly 50 member companies grouped into three regional guilds that are active in the field and close to their members.