Berthomieu, a perfect alchemy between age-old know-how and technological progress
The first family cooperage was created in the 1900’s in Vinay in Isère department by Jules Joseph Bith, father-in-law of Arthur Berthomieu, as demonstrated by the 1906 census which states that the craftsman worked in the city as cooper.
Jules Joseph Bith transfers responsibility to his son-in-law, Arthur Berthomieu, in the late 1940’s. Tonnellerie Berthomieu majored in small chesnut barrels for Beaujolais in restaurants.
Tonnellerie Berthomieu moves to La Charité-sur-Loire in 1999 to get closer to its staves supplier. The cooperage is integrated into the Charlois Group in 2006.
Tonnellerie Berthomieu is characterized by the use of a unique technique of bending using steam. Steaming has been developped during the 20th century with the mechanization of barrels production. The Guilliet company, manufacturer of woodworking equipment, offered in its catalogue in the 1920’s a steaming cone for cooperages.
Tonnellerie Berthomieu then optimized the process. As a matter of fact, after a natural seasoning of the staves for a minimum of 24 months, the steam preheating leads to the elimination of a part of the tannins by “washing” them away. Steam also dilates the wood pores and the toasting that follows therefore penetrates much more deeply and is much more gentle than traditional toasting of dry wood.
For some years now, the Tonnellerie Berthomieu strictly selects its staves and offers a perfect guarantee of traceability concerning the origin of the forests: Nevers, Allier, Vosges or Centre France. Origin becomes all the more important today because we now know that the incidence of forest terroir on wood may be compared to the incidence of terroirs on wine.