The SPBO currently has 14 members from various parts of the business which represent 70% of French production.

Stave mills


Stave mills transform the best oak timber into staves which are then used to make barrels for wines and spirits.

It is the job of the stave mill operators to select the best oak trees in the best forests according to the size of grain or annual rings.

When it has been delivered to the mill, the timber is cut into balk, split to respect the fiber of the wood and then cut into rough staves which after undergoing a close quality control, are sent to mature in seasoning yards. There the rain, wind and sun will help to develop the aromas which wine makers the world over are seeking.

It takes 5 cubic meters of timber to produce 1 cubic meter of staves , and from this raw material is extracted and transformed into alternative products such as oak for wine making.

Cooperage


Over centuries cooperages have produced wooden « containers » (barrels, tanks, vats..). They have undergone a vast transformation since the 1970s, now playing an important role in the contribution of sensory qualities.

Barrels are now used to « nurture » the wines, they enhance them, mature them, make them great….

We are aware of most of the phenomena that take place during the aging of wines in barrels (exchange between the wood and the wine, extraction of ellagic compounds, aromatic compounds exchanges of gases through the pores of the wood, clarification of the wines, thermal softening, oxidative development, absence of phenomena of convection, optimization of contact of wine with their lees..) but their complex combination still exercises a certain mystery over this formidable alchemy.

The cooper has learned how to adapt the selection of his wood, its preparation and transformation to meet the new demands of wine makers. His work with the stave mill operator, who produces the oak staves on the one hand, and the wine makers with whom the cooper seeks to be the historic partner on the other, has gradually developed this empirical craft. He has adopted a more technological approach. Nevertheless, the ancestral savoir faire of the cooper is still in the hands of man and his work.
The knowledge of the raw material and the approach of wood/wine interactions have led some coopers to use "wood for oenology” as an extension of their historical craft. They form a facet of the member producers of the SPBO.

Oenology


Oenology is the science of wine, from the growth stage to the consumption stage, passing through the harvest, wine making, aging, storage and tasting.

Wine making involves the various stages of treatment of the harvest from the pressing phase (extraction of juice/must) up to obtaining the wine itself. The wine then enters the aging phase until it is put on the market.

According to the type of wine he is seeking, the oenologist can choose from various wine making and aging techniques which will each lead to a particular type of wine or lead him to favor certain characteristics of the vinified varietal (fruity, polyphenolic extraction, acidity etc..)

Depending on his technical choice, the oenologist will use various oenological tools such as yeasts, enzymes, tannins and others such as wood for oenology...

The manufacturers of oenological products develop, conceive and offer to oenologists and wine makers the solutions and tools which are essential in helping them to achieve their objectives.