Becoming a cooper
A cooper practices a distinct craft. It requires being in touch with the forest, being an “oak expert,” and partnering with oenologists who choose the noble form of maturing, working with them with patience and loyalty. A cooper is also an epicurean who is passionate about wine growing, wherever production takes place.
The Fédération des Tonneliers de France, which mainly represents the three major wine regions of Burgundy, Charentes, and Aquitaine, is a small group of about 2,000 members who love their work. They’re proud to be part of a lineage of exacting artisans and enlightened entrepreneurs, hereditary traits that are often determinant in their trade.
In France, in the heart of the wine-growing regions and close to the needs of companies, three schools make sure cooperage expertise is handed down. A CAP Tonnellerie cooperage competence certificate can be earned under a work-study program.
In addition to this initial training, member companies also share their expertise, mindset, and values on site.
And because barrel-making is a profession that constantly means adapting, the Fédération des Tonneliers de France sponsors several continuing education modules that are designed as refresher training.
As accomplished professionals, coopers enjoy distinguishing themselves in competitions that include Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, Meilleurs Apprentis de France, and Olympiades des Métiers.