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BILLON - Beaune, France

History


Tonnellerie BILLON was founded in 1947 by Gaston BILLON and is located in Beaune Burgundy. The cooperage was purchased by the Damy family to become the sister cooperage of Meursault's Tonnellerie DAMY. Positioned in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuit's largest city; Beaune, the cooperage has built a strong reputation amongst Burgundy chardonnay and pinot producers. 


Today


Tonnellerie Billon produces around 10,000 barrels a year and has 2 hectares dedicated for wood seasoning, 2 hectares for barrel production, and a 4,000-square-meter shop workshop that employs 20 coopers. The current CEO of the cooperage, Vincent Damy was awarded the prestigious "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" title in 2007 and overseas production at Tonnellerie Billon. 



The Cooperage


Tonnellerie Billon located in Beaune represents a state-of-the-art cooperage equipped with the most up-to-date Monnot cooperage machines. Oak is sourced from 10 different stave mills including longtime partner, Merrains du Jura located in the Jura region of France. To reduce its carbon footprint, the cooperage is involved in local forest replanting initiatives with partner Pépinières Naudet but is also planting different species of trees around the cooperage to encourage biodiversity in its wood park. All remaining bits of wood scraps are used to heat the cooperage during the winter in a furnace. 





Production


All staves at Tonnellerie Billon are stacked only one level high to encourage as much airflow and circulation as possible for optimal seasoning. Oak seasoning is done naturally on site and the cooperage offers up to 5-Y air dry. Staves are then planned and toasting is controlled and monitored digitally to ensure consistent heat and time intervals are met. The Billon toasting style entails bending over an open flame or steam via its *Subtil process and it is common for the flames to lick the inside of the barrels. Toasting is finished via a technique called "bousinage" which causes the barrel to cool down slowly and consistently.  30% of Billon barrels are for its domestic market while 70% are exported internationally. 



Range


The Billon traditional range includes French oak and acacia forest-origin barrels and puncheons (115L - 820L) where the level of air-dry (2-Y up to 5-Y) can be selected along with the toasting profile that includes: L, LL, Chauffe 180 min, M, ML, M+ and Heavy. However, following years of research and collaboration with selected Domaines, Billon also offers an "Innovation Range" of barrels that are based either on grain tightnesses, forest blends, steam bending, and toasting profiles done only over embers. 




Attestations


All Billon barrels are PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) approved and CTB (Fût de Tradition Française) certified. Regular checks for haloanisoles and halophenols are carried out on: the wood yard, processing water, production and storage area environments, and containers. 



Why Tonnellerie Billon? 


Tonnellerie Billon is one of the most traditional and historical cooperages in Burgundy. Located in Beaune, the cooperage is near the Côte de Beaune's most famous chardonnay producers and the Côte de Nuits' most famous pinot noir producers. Billon barrels have traditionally offered a stunning ability to respect the wine and be true to the varietal by showcasing the fruit on the nose and palate. What Billon barrels do contribute to the wine is a subtle aromatic savoriness and slight structure with lots of length, verticality, and an enhanced mineral finish on the palate. 



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