Radoux Oak Wine Barrels… Guaranteed for Life?…
Several years ago Philippe Michel wandered into Shady Lawn Antiques, here in the Valley of the Two Wallas. Philippe, in his charming European accent, announced: “I see that you have one of my wine barrels outside.”
I thought, ‘Yes, I have a wine barrel outside but I acquired it from one of my wine making friends, what are you talking about?’ Philippe showed me the Radoux metal tag on the barrel and Philippe sells Radoux barrels, so perhaps it was his barrel… once.
If you know me, you know that I like interesting people and Philippe certainly is interesting! That day marked the beginning of our friendship.
Philippe had recently moved to Walla Walla from the wine region of California – smart move on his part. He was looking for some interesting things for his new home… he found plenty of things that he liked, some of which his artist wife, Penny Michel, liked as well.
Fast forward to the day that my/his Radoux wine barrel completely fell apart. It had begun to dry out and then before long, it had completely dried out… several if not most all of the metal rings had fallen off and then the top fell into the barrel. I heard a crash, went outside and found the birdhouses that were once displayed on top of the barrel were down inside of what remained of the barrel!
I’m not sure how Philippe knew that my barrel had fallen apart but he showed up that very same day. He said “Radoux barrels are guaranteed for life even if they are in your garden!” I’m pretty sure that the ‘even if they are in your garden’ part was Philippe talking, not Radoux talking.
However, he soon had his little canvas bag of tools out and was driving the rings back onto the barrel. Philippe was even able to pop the lid back in place with a special coopering tool.
‘This is the only time that I’m going to fix this barrel so you will need to take care of it.’ You should fill it with wine so that the oak swells up and then the rings will stay on. If you don’t have wine, then 3 -4 gallons of water will work.
My garden hose wasn’t long enough to reach the barrel. Putting 3 -4 gallons of water into a barrel, a quart or two a time wasn’t too high on my priority list and so… a little over a year later the rings started falling off again.
Last weekend Philippe showed up at Shady Lawn and admonished me for not taking better care of his barrel… Once again out came the tools and Philippe fixed the barrel for the second, last time. How many times have you ever heard of a Cooper showing up at your house to fix your wine barrel?
So Radoux barrels really are are guaranteed. I told Philippe that after I posted this story he would be overwhelmed with barrel orders… so check out his website and place your order!