Cooperage today: France

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

The French cooperage business is much smaller than its American counterpart but is much more important to the wine business. According to the Fédération Française de la Tonnellerie, around 525,000 French oak barrels were produced in 2012, two-thirds of which were exported. The domestic market for these barrels is primarily in bordeaux, burgundy, and Cognac, where most French cooperages are located. Probably half of the exported barrels go to the United States. The balance is shipped to 30 other countries, most notably Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and Germany. As well as selling to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cognac, and Armagnac, French cooperages are also developing new ‘export’ markets selling to ambitious winemakers in French regions that had abandoned new barrels. The rhône, languedoc, roussillon, and south west france, as well as the loire and to a much lesser extent alsace, have all become important purchasers.