From France to the New World, the small, family-run cooperage has pioneered premium barrel making for fine wines.
NAPA – April 7th, 2021 — Dargaud and Jaeglé, one of the world’s oldest wine barrel cooperages, celebrates 100 years in 2021. The company not only survived a world war, the devastating phylloxera outbreak, fires, freezes, and economic downturns but has set a standard of quality and innovation in the barrel industry, all while remaining a devoted, family-run business.
In 1921, Marcel Dargaud and his wife Jeanne Dargaud started their small cooperage business at the crossroads of the French wine regions Beaujolais and Maconnais. Ten years later, a young 13-year-old boy named Marcel Jaeglé knocked at the cooperage door and began his cooper training. Nicknamed “Le Cadet,” he had already lost his mother and five years later, became an orphan after losing his father. The Darguad’s decided to become his legal guardians until he reached the majority age of 21, and in 1968, his name became permanently stamped on the company when the business was renamed Dargaud and Jaeglé.
Now 100 years later, Dargaud and Jaeglé is one of the most lauded and sought-after cooperages, run today by the third and fourth generations. They make 100 casks a day to sell to the finest wineries in the world across 18 countries.
“The Dargaud and Jaeglé cooperage lived through very difficult times, but we were able to persevere due to the enormous amount of work and courage provided by all of us for 100 years, our dedication to the quality, and new ideas in matters of production, social policy, organization, and technical concepts,” says third-generation owner Jean-Marcel Jaeglé. “We aim to blend tradition and modernity harmoniously.”
In the pursuit of exceptional quality, Dargaud and Jaeglé is perhaps best known for selling their barrels based on forest origins instead of grain, which has been the industry norm. Dargaud and Jaeglé has a deep understanding of terroir and the role it plays on all living things — not just wine grapes, but trees, too.
As an alternative to the traditional fire-bent barrels, they also popularized water-bent barrels, a technique of Mâcon coopers to preserve fruit, freshness, and minerality in wine, and invented several digital machines and processes for improving the efficiency and quality of their barrels. In 2001, Jean-Marcel created an ultra-premium barrel, the Marcel Cadet. Using 36-month seasoned wood, this barrel was created in honor of his late father and WWII veteran Marcel Jaeglé. Then in 2008, the family purchased and modernized Vallaurine, a small cooperage in the Rhone Valley, which enabled them to offer their clients fire-bent barrels to complement their water-bent offerings.
For 36 years, Dargaud and Jaeglé has sold their barrels to top wineries within the North American market in partnership with Barrel Associates International and the Jaeger family.
Lizette Jaeger, the third-generation General Manager of Barrel Associates International says, “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up with the Jaeglé family and am honored to continue our long-standing partnership with them. As the North American representative of their world-renowned wine barrels, Barrel Associates International prides itself on core values modeled after those of Dargaud and Jaeglé — relentless dedication to family, employees, product quality, and customer service. Our team is excited to commemorate Dargaud and Jaeglé’s centennial, and we look forward to collectively celebrating this milestone with our clients soon.”
About Barrel Associates International
Barrel Associates International is a French and American Oak wine barrel company that was founded in Napa in 1990 by Jeff Jaeger, William Jaeger Jr., and Rich Davis. Barrel Associates International is the exclusive North American distributor for Tonnellerie Dargaud et Jaeglé and Marcel Cadet, French Oak barrels, Tonnellerie Vallaurine French Oak barrels, and Barrel Associates Fire-bent, Water-bent, and Deep Toast American Oak barrels, sold worldwide.