150 YEARS: TONNELLERIE SAURY, SINCE 1873 – Marius Saury barrel factory

When Marius Saury took over the family cooperage, he gave it his name, as evidenced by the letterhead “Fabrique de futailles et comportes* en tous genres Marius Saury”.

At this time, coopers played an essential role in villages, since in addition to barrels, they made all kinds of strapped wooden containers, such as tubs, buckets, jugs and vats (see plates in Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie).

The family cooperage remained in the commune of Rieux-Minervois throughout the first half of the 20th century.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, cooperage activity in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine-growing region declined in tandem with the rise of cooperative wineries. By 1952, when Marcel Saury, son of Marius, transferred the cooperage to Brive-la-Gaillarde (Corrèze), there were only 3 coopers left in Rieux-Minervois, compared with 63 in 1872 and 16 in 1906 (including 2 tampers).

Marcel Saury decided to move from the Minervois to Brive-la-Gaillarde, to be closer to the vineyards of Bordeaux and the chestnut groves of Limousin, which were the main types of wood used in the Tonnellerie Saury workshops at the time.

*In certain regions, mainly in the south of France, this hooped wooden vat was used to transport liquids or grapes at harvest time.

Visuals: Tonnellerie Marius Saury letterhead and plate 5 from Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie devoted to the cooper’s trade © D.R.

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