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180 years and more alive than ever!

2018.06.28

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180 years and more alive than ever!

With historical roots dating back to 1838, SEGUIN MOREAU will celebrate its 180th anniversary this year. Echoing this particular event, the cooperage has just been granted the « Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant » French State label, as a recognition of its superior know-how.

180 years of tradition and cutting-edge

Les tonnelleries MOREAU et SEGUIN furent respectivement créées en 1838 et 1870 par leurs fondateurs Jean MOREAU(1) et Alfred SEGUIN(2). A une époque où la ville de Cognac comptait une quarantaine d’ateliers de tonnellerie, toutes deux virent leur activité prospérer pendant plusieurs générations : Jean MOREAU avait une parfaite maîtrise des approvisionnements en chêne, ce qui était rare à l’époque, tandis qu’Alfred SEGUIN était un foudrier de renom, spécialiste de la fabrication des cuves et foudres de bois.

Fait prisonnier pendant la première guerre mondiale, Jean MOREAU(3), arrière-petit-fils de Jean, revint en 1919 à Cognac, presque aveugle. Sans successeur pour reprendre son activité, il décida de céder ses ateliers à la tonnellerie SEGUIN en 1964, sur les conseils de son ami André RENAUD, propriétaire de la Maison Rémy Martin. En 1972, l’entreprise prend alors le nom de SEGUIN MOREAU et déménage en 1973 sur le site actuel de Merpins, à proximité des chais fraîchement bâtis par la Maison de Cognac.

Si les débouchés commerciaux de SEGUIN MOREAU étaient alors centrés sur le seul marché des eaux-de-vie, en France(4) comme à l’export(5), l’intégration de la tonnellerie ROBIN en 1970, située à St-André-de-Cubzac, lui ouvrit les portes du vignoble bordelais et de ses châteaux de renom. En 1978, elle partit à la rencontre des vignerons bourguignons et posa, cette même année, la première pierre d’une démarche R&D particulièrement avant-gardiste : elle fut la première tonnellerie à nouer un partenariat avec la faculté d’œnologie de Bordeaux, dans le but de comprendre les facteurs clés des échanges entre le vin et le bois sur le plan scientifiqu eet non plus simplement empirique.

Les années 1980 marquèrent pour SEGUIN MOREAU le début de l’aventure américaine, en Oregon et Californie, puis ce fut l’ouverture à l’ensemble du vignoble mondial. Depuis lors, la tonnellerie accompagne ses clients avec une approche équilibrée entre la tradition artisanale cognaçaise de ses origines et une démarche scientifique omniprésente, qui fait aujourd’hui sa spécificité sur ce marché désormais mondialisé.

The MOREAU and SEGUIN cooperages were established in 1838 and 1870 respectively by their founders Jean Moreau1 and Alfred Seguin.2 In an era when the city of Cognac had around forty cooperage workshops, both saw their work prosper for multiple generations: Jean Moreau had a perfect grasp of oak sourcing, something that was rare at the time, whilst Alfred Seguin was a reputed cooper specialising in producing wooden vats and barrels.

Taken prisoner during the First World War, Jean’s great-grandson Jean Moreau3 returned to Cognac in 1919 almost blind. Without an heir to take over his work, in 1964 he decided to hand his workshops over to the SEGUIN cooperage on the advice of his friend André Renaud, who owned Maison Rémy Martin. In 1972 the company therefore took the name SEGUIN MOREAU and in 1973 it moved to the current site in Merpins, near the Maison de Cognac’s recently constructed barrel cellars.

Although SEGUIN MOREAU’s commercial opportunities were initially centred solely on the brandy market in France4 and abroad,5 the integration of the ROBIN cooperage (located in St-André-de-Cubzac) in 1980 opened doors to the vineyards of Bordeaux and its famed chateaux. In 1978 the company went out to meet Burgundian winemakers, and the same year laid the foundations of aparticularly avant-garde approach to R&D: it was the first cooperage to forge a partnership with the Faculty of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, in order to understand the key factors in the exchange process between wine and wood on a scientific rather than just empirical level.

The 1980s marked the beginning of SEGUIN MOREAU’s American adventure in Oregon and California, then an opening up to the vineyards of the world. Ever since, the cooperage has been supporting its customers withan approach that balances Cognac artisanal tradition with an omnipresent scientific method, serving as a point of difference in what is now a globalised market.

Seguin Moreau gains ‘Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant’ label

After an audit phase completed in late 2017, this year SEGUIN MOREAU has been designated an EPV, or ‘Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant’ (‘Living Heritage Company’) by the Minister of Economy and Finance.

The EPV label, created by the French Law on SMEs of 2 August 2005 (article 23), was established in 2006. It may be awarded to ‘any undertaking that has economic heritage, consisting in particular ofrare, renowned or ancestral skills which draw on a mastery of traditional or technically advanced techniques, and restricted to a particular geographical area’. The procedure for awarding the EPV label is entrusted to an independent national commission composed of experts in their professional fields.

Requiring a very rigorous selection process, the label aims to promote and showcase French companies offering distinctive expertise against the backdrop of increasing global competition. This has enabled the creation ofa unique network of companies able to pair tradition with innovation, expertise with creation, work with passion, heritage with the future, and the local with the international. Sharing the same values regardless of their size or level of fame, together these companies safeguard the national treasure that is France’s manufacturing heritage.

 

1) Jean MOREAU (1798-1880) / 2) Alfred SEGUIN (1848-1910) / 3) Jean MOREAU (1886-1965) / 4) In France: Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Antilles / 5) Export: Germany, Italy, South Africa