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Morgan Audebert, production manager at Doreau Tonneliers, by Stéphane Ebel

2 November 2023

Nothing’s impossible if you go for it!


Every day, at the crack of dawn, Morgan heads off to work at the Tonnellerie Doreau in Gensac. It’s a ritual that hasn’t changed since he was 15, when he began learning the cooper’s trade from his mentor, Thierry Doreau. 20 years later, Morgan is still at the cooperage, driven by the same passion, having gone from cooper to production manager.


At 35 years of age, Morgan Audebert knows what he wants. And that’s nothing new. Working hard is in the DNA of this native of Cognac. His office door is always open. Available, cheerful, and always ready to lend a hand, Morgan has tons of energy. There’s never a dull moment. “There has to be a rhythm. That’s what I like. We have a daily barrel target, and my job is to make sure we’re able to achieve it every day of the week, every month of the year.”



The best possible education

“I started working when I was very young, my parents didn’t give me any pocket money, so I had to find a way of earning some,” says Morgan, “I began by collecting snails to sell to restaurants, 25,000 to 30,000 of them a year. My father used to take me, I must have been 8. I also worked in the vineyards and, very early on, I invested in property. I hesitated between going into cooperage or real estate. I don’t regret my choice. I’ve had the best education you could get, based on respect, honesty and hard work. My parents taught me how to get on in life and I’m grateful to them for that. I am as demanding of others as I am of myself. If you want something, you have to give yourself the means to achieve it. That’s the way I see it.”


Production Manager

If there’s one thing Morgan isn’t afraid of, it’s responsibility. When it comes to finding a solution to a problem, he’s second to none. His days are governed by the pace of the barrel production. “In the morning, I like to get in before the guys, to make sure everyone is there before starting production. If they’re not, I have to find people. 50% of production is carried out between 7 am and 11.30 am, so I’m in prod until around 9 am, and if I have to get my hands dirty, I will. You can’t mess up and lose a day’s work. Manpower is becoming an increasingly rare commodity these days.” Morgan knows he can rely on a network of contacts in Cognac that he has been building up since his youth, thanks in particular to Thierry Doreau, from whom he learned the ropes and all the tricks of the trade. “I’ve got my ways and means,” he says with a broad smile. “Thierry taught me a lot, he trusted me and took me under his wing. I’ll be eternally grateful to him, he’s like a second father to me.”



With a full order book for the next 12 months, Tonnellerie Doreau is a key player in the south-west of France. “One of our main customers is Hennessy and that’s obviously a big deal,” says Morgan. “Our customers are demanding, they want quality, you can’t get it wrong. I’m responsible for a team of around 20, and that’s what I ask of them. And that’s what we do. It’s a team effort, and I’m a bit like the captain. Everyone helps each other out, and that’s another of the things I like about this place. The arrival of the Charlois Group has reinforced this positive mindset, without which you cannot work, in my opinion. We spend more time at work than we do at home, so we might as well make sure we enjoy it!



Four questions to Morgan:

Morgan, how did you come to be interested in the cooper’s trade?

It’s very simple really. When I was a child, I had a neighbour who was a cooper. He used to make little barrels and that fascinated me, I thought it was a nice thing to do and I wanted to do the same. What’s more, school wasn’t really my thing. My parents knew the Doreau family. That’s how it happened. I joined them as an apprentice when I was 15, I’m 35 now and I’m still here. I love what I do, I love my region. I belong here, even if I’ve had offers elsewhere. They put their trust in me, and I never forget that. I’m a Doreau student and I train two or three coopers a year in my turn. It’s a way of passing on know-how and values, those of our forefathers.


You’re head of production, what does that entail?

I’m in charge of the new barrel production workshop, having previously worked in the customer service and repair departments. It’s a different kind of job. Every day, my main concern is making sure that there are enough people to start production and that the equipment is working. Once everything is up and running, I move on to the more administrative tasks, sometimes I visit customers… I’m generally in production until 9 am, after which I manage the work schedules, holidays, supplies in conjunction with our site manager David, the accounts department, HR… it’s a team effort. But I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of emails, even though I had to get used to them. For me, nothing beats a handshake, a glance, a word… the human touch!


And what about the Charlois Group?

The Charlois Group has a good reputation in the region, as it does just about everywhere, and rightly so. It has given us a certain stability, particularly from a financial point of view, and they allow us to just get on with it. Its values are close to those I was taught at Doreau. A sense of family, confidence in the employees and a love of a job well done, which suits me down to the ground. I have a certain amount of autonomy in the organisation of my work, which I appreciate enormously. I’m proud to be part of this business and I intend to continue to contribute to its success.


Does your work leave you with much free time?

Ah yes, and a good job too! It’s a question of balance. I’m married with two children, aged 2 and 9, and family is the most important thing to me. The education and future of my children are priorities for my wife and myself. That’s partly why I invested in property. I’ve already built two houses and I have flats that I rent out. My wife manages them. She’s a psychologist by training, but as she qualified in Colombia (her country of origin) she can’t practise in France. We work as a family and that’s great. She keeps me in check because I tend to throw myself into lots of different things. I love life and I think we’re very lucky here in France. It’s not the same everywhere, far from it.




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