For the artisan French oak barrels of Tonnellerie Ô, we look to ancient forests throughout northern and central France, a vast area that covers the French heartland in a broad swath of green from Normandy, Champagne and Alsace in the north to the lush interiors of the Loire Valley and Burgundy. To seek out the finest wood, we work exclusively with family-owned stavemakers, or merrandiers, like the Gauthier family, who have sourced oak from these forests near their homes for generations.
East of the Loire Valley in Burgundy, the Bertranges subregion of Nevers is well known for the quality of its ancient oak.
The department of Allier has long been recognized as the home of some of France's best oak forests, including the forest of Troncais, the birthplace of modern French forestry management.
Situated between the eastern border of the Loire Valley and Burgundy's famed Cote d'Or, the forests of the department of Nevers produce some of the finest-quality oak for wine barrels.
The venerable Orléans forest—the largest national forest of France—lies in the northeastern reaches of the Loire Valley.
Just 60 miles southeast of Paris, Fontainebleau—the former royal hunting ground—is known for rock formations, gorges, and the high quality of its oak.
Located in the northern stretches of the Loire Valley, the small forest of Jupilles is valued for its tightly grained oak.
The birthplace of modern French forestry management, The forest of Tronçais remains a source of some of the world's best oak timber.
Tonnellerie Ô sources wood for American oak barrels from lush white oak forests that spread across the upper and central Midwest, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic. We enjoy long-term relationships with family-operated mills like Staggemeyer Stave Company in Minnesota and Ramoneda Brothers in Virginia, people who have been in the oak business for several generations.
These northern forests lie along the same latitude as some of France's best oak forests, and offer similarly elegant flavor profiles.
The Appalachian region of the eastern US is one of the most biologically diverse areas of North America, and its expansive oak forests are one of its greatest treasures.
Missouri white oak has been a mainstay of American barrel production for generations, and remains a favorite among coopers for its quality.