Founded in 1875 by Henri Baron near the town of Seine (Charan Lake), Tonnelleri Baron has been cultivating the historic trade of cooperative for a century and a half.
Since 1996, under the fifth generation of Xavier Baron and Nicolas Tombu, followed by Lionel Kreff in 2001 and Sebastian Lane in 2009, this independent family business has built its longevity and reputation on a tradition of excellence, elegance, precision and innovation. A philosophy that is more relevant than ever at a time when the wine and beverage industry is making ever greater demands on the reliability, traceability and quality of the barrels used for vinification and aging.
Tonnellerie Baron’s latest innovation is a response to a problem that is often overlooked but which can seriously threaten the end product and confidence between producers and consumers: the presence of haloanisole molecules (TeCA, TCA, PCA, TBA) and their precursors – halophenols (TeCP, TCP, PCP, TBP) – in drums. It is these molecules that are responsible for the strong discoloration of the cork that compromises the integrity of the wine. This is mainly due to contaminated cork stoppers, but also to molecules in the cellars or production halls, water and cleaning agents, as well as to the direct origin of the wood from which the barrels are made.
True to the tradition of excellence, know-how and innovation that, since 1875, has led to the production of barrels that meet the expectations of an increasingly demanding wine and spirits industry, Tonnellerie Baron is crossing a new threshold and, from January 2021, will be the first cooperative to guarantee that 100% of its products are free of HA (haloanisols) and HP (halophenols) that can be detected at the end of the production process in our workshop – ie.i.e. the molecules responsible for the organoleptic decay of the wine. An initiative that goes hand in hand with the mission to raise awareness among all professionals in the sector.
A RADICAL PREVENTIVE AND ANALYTICAL PROCEDURE
To meet the expectations of its customers and provide them with impeccable barrels, Baron Tonnellerie has implemented a radical prevention protocol. Since 2005, we have been regularly inspecting the entire environment of our workshop, the vehicles and containers that transport our barrels. Then, since 2014, TCA has been testing barrels for a handful of customers.
The following year, Tonnelleri Baron began experimenting with a different technique in collaboration with the LEC laboratory in Cognac: After checking the pressure in the vessel, sensors were placed in the vessel. In just two minutes, all the moist air remaining in the gun was passed through sensors that could capture the HA-HP molecules.
A laboratory analysis is returned within 24 hours indicating whether the vessel is healthy or contaminated. In case of contamination, the drum is discarded.
The process has been fully operational since 2016 and is gradually being rolled out across our entire production (approximately 15,000 barrels per year for 1,800 customers). From 1. In January 2021, Tonnelleri Baron will be the first cooperation partner to guarantee that 100% of the barrels at the end of the production process are free of detectable TCA and TCP – a service that is now systematically offered free of charge to all our customers.
By introducing this process and extending it to the entire production of the barrels, Tonnellerie Baron guarantees its customers maximum security in the production process. They know that this will give them a superior quality product, an impeccable barrel of excellence that will accompany and enhance the aging of their great wines. Lastly, this measure serves to actively raise awareness throughout the sector of the need to introduce absolute quality requirements throughout the production chain in order to avoid organoleptic defects in the final product.
In fact, it has been shown that TCA and TeCA, the main molecules responsible for cork stains, are found in nature in the form of stains several millimeters in diameter on oak trees. For example, a microspore of TCA on a single plate can contaminate an entire barrel of wine. In the world of fine wines, this is a risk no producer can afford.