Bayard Fox, Christophe Garcia, and Franck Monteau came to know each other as colleagues in a large international cooperage. Their respective areas of expertise became a perfect mix of knowledge when the time came to found a new cooperage: Franck was a recognized specialist in wood selection/purchasing, Christophe had 18 years’ experience as a director of production and new products, and Bayard’s background of nearly two decades was in client relations and sales management. Perhaps even more importantly Bayard, Christophe and Franck each had a passion for his work and the desire to offer an ethically produced superior barrel to the wine industry.
Bayard Fox was inculcated in the world of wine at a young age, as meals at the family dinner table were always accompanied with wine. He worked his first harvest in Southern France in 1980, and ten years later arrived in Napa to expand his knowledge, and eventually create his own wine, Renard, with his wife, a graphic designer. Bayard met Franck and Christophe in 1996, and in 2010 they acted on their collective dream to create their own cooperage, Tonnellerie Orion. When Bayard is not occupied with barrels and wine, he scales some of the higher peaks in the West – Mt. Shasta, Mt. Rainer and others. He enjoys telemark skiing when there is snow, and occasionally can be seen running his dog in the hills of Napa.
Franck Monteau was born and raised in a rural setting, and sought a trade close to nature. Because of this appreciation, he chose his studies (BTS) in forestry, which kept his feet firmly in the nature. As a lover of the nature and trees, it seemed natural to join a cooperage in 1996, a collaboration of nature and artisan production. Creating Tonnellerie Orion was a natural conclusion ; a continuation of the connection to nature, craftsmanship, a sharing of work ethic, and friendship. While Franck maintains our wood stock, and directs all administrative aspects, he makes time for his wife and two boys. Weekends will often find him watching his son Louis play rugby, and of course, sharing the dinner table with friends and family.
Christophe Garcia’s passion for what was to become his life’s path began in 1993 when he first apprenticed in a cooperage. He quickly fell in love with the process of forming wood into barrels for one of France’s most important industries. Hard work, tenacity, and yet more hard work eventually resulted in Christophe becoming the Director of Production and Research for a prominent cooperage with global reach. Throughout these years, Christophe’s passion and energy for his métier continued to grow and, thus, he quickly accepted the challenge of forming a new cooperage when the moment presented itself. Today, the barrels offered by Tonnellerie Orion reflect Christophe’s persistent pursuit of quality as well as his care in producing customized barrel specifications as requested by individual clients. Christophe is the first to say that he couldn’t have arrived at his current success without the support of his wife, Beatrice, and the understanding of his children, Melanie, Quentin, and Sarah. Hugo, the canine member of the family, surely contributed as well. When Christophe manages to close the cooperage door at the end of the day, he enjoys playing tennis, cooking (he’s very good), and occasionally visiting his father in Spain where they converse in fluent Spanish