ANTOINE DE THOURY INTERVIEW
How does Tonnellerie Cadus adapt its practices for drying wood to climatic variations?
Like the vinegrower, the cooper works with climatological elements for the important stage of drying staves outside. The vagaries of the weather put the drying reference sliders to the test and push the coopers to adapt to guarantee high quality drying staves.
The Tonnellerie Cadus at the foot of the Corton Hill
The Tonnellerie Cadus drying yard is located in Ladoix Serrigny at the foot of the Corton Hill. The region enjoys a favorable continental climate. In addition, the drying yard, which is located in the plain, benefits from high humidity (resulting in frequent fog) which allows gentle washing off of the staves to better purify them of coarse tannins. The climatic variations specific to Burgundy allow the wood to dry, hydrate, work and tighten for the standard period of 30 months at Cadus. However, with the last hot and dry summers we have had in Burgundy, it has been necessary to adapt and think about new practices to ensure that optimal drying conditions are maintained.
The drying step is very important because it conditions the quality of the staves just as a winegrower takes care of his soils, stripping the leaves or even a specific pruning to accompany the maturity of these grapes depending on the vintage. At Tonnellerie Cadus we have taken the following measures :
Limit the wind effects
To protect our park from the wind, we have planted bower hedges. This natural barrier, while creating new biodiversity refuges, protects the staves from episodes of excessive winds that generate mechanical defects on the staves through accelerated drying.
Protect from the sun
To limit the impact of heatwave episodes in summer, we put protective skylights on top of each block of staves to protect those exposed to the scorching rays of the sun. This technique allows us to preserve a homogeneous drying of the batch of staves.
Measure the climatic changes
To analyze climate impacts, this fall we set up a meteorological station to study a possible correlation between changes in the chemical composition of staves and historical climate data such as temperature, humidity and wind. This project is carried out in partnership with the University of Burgundy. We want to have reliable scientific databases on our drying fleet in order to ensure the improvement and optimization of our wood drying.
Composing with Mother Nature, the winemaker takes care of his vineyard in order to have the best material to produce the best wine. Likewise, Tonnellerie Cadus takes great care of its staves in order to produce the best barrels.
Antoine de Thoury
President of Tonnellerie Cadus