The stave factory

A facility added in 2010

In Tronçais forest

We have always valued exceptional 'terroirs' which enable us to produce quality barrels. This is the reason we buy our oak from what is referred to as 'timber forest', from the forest of Allier, notably from Tronçais, the most prestigious forest, where the hundred year old trees were planted under the orders of Colbert.

In order to guarantee that our barrels have the greatest complexity and character, we use a blend of wood from different areas, much like a wine producer blends different grape varieties from different vineyards. We also use wood from the forest of Jupilles, as well as wood from the Vosges. The combination of the organoleptic characteristics found in the wood enables us to make excellent barrels.

In Tronçais forest In Tronçais forest In Tronçais forest

Company Cognet

The Cognet company has been situated in Cosne d’Allier for over three generations, since the end of the 19th century. The stave mill represented only 20% of their business activity for a long time, with the saw mill originally representing the major part of their business. The workshop was very hand-crafted and was providing staves to prestigious customers in the Charentes, Bordeaux and Burgundy areas.

In 1971, Jean Cognet, the grandson of the original founder, took over the business, which progressively evolved, reversing the share of business derived from the saw mill and the stave mill. His collaboration with Yves Saint Martin dates back to the early 70’s.

In March 2010, thirty seven years later, François Saint Martin decided to acquire the stave mill in order to secure the supply of raw material. In March 2012, a new stave mill facility was built in Cosne d’Allier, to replace the old production site, which was out-of-date and no longer suitable.

Company Cognet Company Cognet Company Cognet

Sawing

Once the trees are cut down and we carefully remove them from the forest , we work on the log, which is then cut into sections of 1m in length.

Splitting

The log is cut into four lengthwise, splitting them with a hydraulic wedge, in order to follow the grain and protect the wood fiber.

Trimming

Finally, we transform the sections of wood into staves known as 'merrains', by various operations known as délignage (trimming). The objective is to remove the bark and sapwood (the young, porous part of the tree) as well as the heart of the wood (the older, hard central part) in order to make a straight stave.

Sawing Splitting Trimming

The cooperage

A blend of modern and traditional techniques

Seasoning the wood

Good seasoning is of the utmost importance when producing quality barrels. The maturation process of the staves in our lumber yard is much the same as for ageing wine, with long periods of maturation, of up to 36 months.

In order to track our wood; all the pallets are labelled using a traceability bar codes photo pallet system, so that at any given moment we can trace the origin of each batch.

Furthermore, we can now use the PEFC label (Program of Endorsement for Forest Certification), a guarantee to our customers that the wood has come from forests using sustainable methods.

Seasoning the wood Seasoning the wood Seasoning the wood

Toasting the wood

This is a crucial step, where the mysterious alchemy between years of skill and modern techniques comes together and allows us to offer you barrels of an aromatic style that respects the fruit's character and adds complexity to the wine.

Our vision of toasting is that it should be much like cooking an exquisite dish, performed with care and passion.

Toasting the wood Toasting the wood Toasting the wood Toasting the wood

Finishing

Final preparations are made to the barrels before they can be sent to our customers. The various stages of ensuring the barrel is water-tight, sanding, as well as quality control, allows us to ensure that our strict criteria have been adhered to throughout the long production process.

Once these have been carried out we laser-engrave the barrels with our logo, the wood used, the toasting method and of course, a batch number.

Finishing Finishing Finishing