A wide variety of jobs have been created in the production and marketing sectors. Each profession plays an essential role in Cognac making. A combination of stringent standards, traditions, and dedication contribute to the authenticity and reputation of Cognac.
Professions ofcognac elaboration
The nursery grower
The nursery grower produces vines by grafting scions onto rootstocks. Once the graft has joined these two elements together, they are planted in a vine nursery to develop their roots.
The winegrower is involved right from the start by planting and replanting vines, as well as caring for them until the harvest. Generally, winegrowers sell their crops once the picked grapes have been transformed into wine by fermentation, placing particular emphasis on both the quantity and quality of the fermented alcohol.
Did you know?
Depending on the size of their estate, winegrowers may supervise every step, from planting until aging, putting their heart and soul into their Cognac. Some producers also sell all or part of their production in bottle.
Distillers, like alchemists, transform wine into wine spirits, thus concentrating the aromas. There are several categories of distillers:
Grower-distillers are winegrowers who either distil their own wines or have their production custom-distilled.
Professional distillers are experts in the distillation process. They purchase wines which they then distil and sell as wine spirits or custom-distil for other producers.
Cellarmasters guarantee the desired aromas, flavors and styles of each of the 271 Cognac houses. They oversee all stages in production, from selecting wine spirits through to blending. They also monitor the wine spirits throughout the aging process, choosing between new and older barrels, as well as dry or humid cellars. They taste the wine spirits regularly to identify those ready for blending and those requiring additional time to express their full potential.
Wine and spirits brokers
Wine and spirits brokers travel around sourcing wine spirits, facilitating contacts between winegrowers and merchants. These key players act as intermediaries between winegrowers and merchants.
professions in the marketing, packaging and design sectors
The last category are professions in the marketing, packaging and design sectors, including marketing specialists, glassmakers, cork producers, cardboard manufacturers, and printers, responsible for Cognac packaging.
Boilermakers are artisans who design and produce Charentais copper pot stills for distilleries. Nowadays, their profession has evolved towards supplying tools for automated distillation.
Coopers are skilled craftsmen in wood. They make barrels to age Cognac by carving and assembling stave wood extracted from oak trees. Once the barrel has taken shape, it is toasted to develop oak aromas, such as vanilla and toast.
The Cognac industry as an employment driver
Cognac is one of the region’s largest industries. With 17,000 direct jobs, the Cognac industry alone represents 50% of the local agricultural population. It is the region’s largest industrial sector, providing a living for around 60,000 people out of a total population of less than one million.
From design to production, each profession plays a unique, specific role in Cognac making. These interrelated professions constitute a precious living heritage, with centuries of tradition, yet constantly attuned to change and improvement. This diverse array of trades helps to ensure the authenticity, modernity, and reliability of Cognac and safeguard its international reputation.
Key points to remember
- Cognac production accounts for 60,000 jobs in the area.
- The Charentes region alone has over 4,200 vineyards.
- All sectors in the Cognac industry work together to create an authentic, high-quality product.