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Our trades

Forest ownership

The control of our oak supply depends on forest ownership.

As guardians we take care, day after day, to maintain, develop and renew our forests.

The forest has multiple resources. Their intelligent management enables us to meet our needs in wood production and harvesting, whilst at the same time protecting the environment and promoting biodiversity.

The trees and the forest play an essential role in the preservation of our planet.

AMAZING CONSTRUCTIONS IN WOOD

Wood is the source of ecological and renewable materials of the future. It is a raw material whose precious qualities are invaluable to architects and designers.

It was this convergence of skills that led the Charlois group to acquire La Cabane Perchée (The Cabin in the Treetops)® in 2018.

With almost 20 years of experience of the architectural challenge of building cabins in trees all around the world, La Cabane Perchée® is devoted to designing the spaces that we imagine in our dreams, built without ever planting a single nail in a tree or sawing a single branch.

These natural hideaways, havens of peace and relaxation, inspire us to reconnect with our feelings, to be at one with Nature. They can serve as a place to sleep, an office, a meeting or games room, or a space for meditation…. and why not even a tasting room ?…

Cosmetics

Continuously researching the various benefits of oak, the Charlois group’s scientists have developed for the first time a patented oak extract with high-powered anti-ageing properties.

The Quercus Petraea extract comes from different parts of the tree: the bark, the soft wood and the leaf.

And so was born a line of anti-ageing cosmetics with exceptional regenerative performance.

After the bark, wood and leaf, it was by studying the sap, precious lifeblood of the oak tree, that the La Chênaie scientists were able to register a new trademark, PETRASÈVE® in 2018. In March 2019, four new products were added to a new range of ultra-hydrating skincare.

HOSPITALITY

The Charlois Group proposes visits on themes related to the forest, nature, art, craftsmanship, wine and well-being. At Murlin, the focal point of these various activities, the Auberge des Bertranges enables visitors to extend their stay and prolong these moments of sharing.

Here, one can sample fruit and vegetables fresh from the garden, and local produce accompanied by prestigious wines that have been aged in oak barrels made in the group’s cooperages. And to complete the immersive experience a project including guest rooms perched in the trees, a boutique dedicated to the La Chênaie range of cosmetics, and a fine grocery store, has been designed to prolong the magic.

Art & culture

After two centuries of implantation and participation in local tradition in Murlin, the Charlois family are definitively rooted in this village in the heart of the Betranges forest.

This attachment naturally led the company to develop a number of cultural projects in this small, wooded corner of France. The desire to transmit and share led to the creation by Sylvain Charlois of the Charlois Foundation for Art and the Forest. Its objectives are notably the development and the promotion of the art, culture, heritage, trades, traditions and values of the forest. The Charlois group also supports all forms of artistic expression, including a musical group, The Barrels.

In parallel to the Foundation for Art and the Forest and springing from its long commitment to sustainable forest management, in 2019 the Charlois group launched a vast tree-planting project.

CARING FOR HERITAGE

Its deep attachment to the region has led the Charlois Group to support numerous major projects in the village of Murlin. Under the Murlanium umbrella, created in 2003, the group manages property and restaurant facilities, and promotes the development and embellishment of this small village in the Nivernais woods. The numerous building and renovation projects include premises constructed in 2016 for the Exact Laboratory, and the restoration of an 18th century building destined to accommodate the La Grange cooperage. This building will also incorporate spaces dedicated to exhibitions and concerts, and two houses currently being restored will provide space for artists in residence and skilled craftsmen.

Forestry

Throughout the year, our buyers visit French forests looking for the most beautiful oak trees which will be used to make barrels for ageing wines and spirits.

Tree to tree, they assess the oaks which were selected according to a strict management plan, drawn up to ensure sustainable forest renewal and respect for biodiversity.

Sawmill operations

The sawmill specialises in the manufacture of railway sleepers (European leader). Railway sleepers (also known as railway crossties) have existed for over 150 years. They appeared in Europe and in the United States as railways developed. Totalling around 2.5 million all over the world, they represent the majority of sleepers, all materials combined.

An ecological product, today they are highly sought-after. As a renewable and indigenous raw material from sustainably managed forests, they represent genuine added value. This activity means the Charlois group can add value to 100% of the oak it purchases.

Stave milling

After the trees have been selected in the forest*, the most important work in the oak trade is splitting the wood.

Using techniques passed down from generation to generation, this traditional expertise requires the unerring eye of the stave maker. He must correctly read the grain of the wood, split the logs into quarters, remove the heart, sapwood and bark to extract the noble wood of the straight-grained staves.

The stave is then seasoned outside for a minimum of 24 months – an essential ageing step.

* Only 2% of oak in France are of stave quality. This quality represents 30% of the volume purchased by the group.

Cooperage

After the staves have been seasoned, they are once again checked and sorted before being sent to the cooper. At this stage, each of the group’s cooperages respects its own traditions, chooses the oak according to where it came from or its grain, the manufacturing methods and more. Every element is closely respected to express the cooperage’s own signature.

Barrel ageing is one of the most important stages in maturing top quality wines. At the end of the ageing process, these great wines have taste and aromatic properties which reflect a complexity and originality that strengthens their personality.

Vat making

Our experts manufacture tanks and casks. The products are unique, custom-made, designed for each specific project and in harmony with the organisation and aesthetics of the cellar where they will reveal their qualities over time.

An expression of luxury, oak tanks and casks illustrate, in the wine industry and around the world, the prestige and quality work that makes a wine.

Oak for œnology

Similarly to cooperage, the manufacture of top quality oak products for winemaking depends on three main criteria: the selection of raw materials, natural seasoning of the wood and the toasting process.

Thanks to its leadership in the French oak sector and its coopering experience, for the last ten years the Charlois group has positioned itself in the sector’s high-end, offering very technically accomplished products.

Transport & Logistics

Transporting and delivering barrels that are destined for wines demands particular care. The prestigious nature of the customers and the quality of the barrels mean that skilful handling is primordial.

For over 10 years, the Charlois group has offered a customised logistics service adapted to the needs of each of its customers.

In 2017 a dedicated logistical structure was created: Charlois Premium Logistique (CPL).

Engineering

Always striving for quality and optimisation, the Charlois group develops and designs high performance machines for sawmills, stave mills and cooperages.

The design office is in Murlin where its own workshop manufactures and improves machines from different sites and takes care of their maintenance and repair.

Research & innovation

The laboratory has been practising its expertise in aroma characterisation, researching organoleptic flaws and food safety for 20 years.

It incorporates the Charlois group’s Research & Innovation department, particularly for cooperage, winemaking oak and cosmetics.

It enjoys COFRAC and CIR (R&D tax credit) accreditation.