We really love this message, so we decided to publish (with changed names). If you would like to learn more about the Alambic Charentais, the famous pot still for making cognac, read our article about Alambics.
Dear Sophie and Max,
A quick note of thanks for the fantastic website that you’ve created and shared with the world.
My wife and I just returned home to New York after a two week trip to St. Preuil, France in Grande Champagne. Only because of the guidance you offer within Cognac-Expert.com were we able to research and schedule visits with a number of small grower-distillers in the region.
Goal: Bringing an alambic charentais still to US family winery
Although not a well-known area for wine, my wife and her family have been winegrowers in the Finger Lakes region of New York State for the last 40 years (believe it or not, New York is the second largest producer of wine behind California in the USA). Accordingly, part of our holiday to southwest France was to get a better sense of the distillation side of the operation.
One of our goals is to add an alambic charentais still to my wife’s family’s winery. (A few wineries in the United States have done this already but all of them exist in California.)
When we visited a Cognac producer, we asked him how easy it would be to find and purchase an old alambic charentais potstill and ship it back to the United States. While he laughed at us, he did say that it would probably be hard to find an old potstill to buy in Grande Champagne but that within other growth areas in the Cognac AOC it may be easier. He even mentioned that there was a place – something like a copper recycling operation – that we could probably buy an old alambic charentais potstill for the price of copper. However, we never got the name of this place.
Of course, we have already talked with Chalvignac in Merpins and Montel in Pons. As soon as they hear we would like to purchase a potstill that is 350-400 liters in capacity they also laugh at us. For the kind of annual production we are planning to start with we really don’t need the large size that they already produce. Plus, the brand new potstills that they produce are very expensive.
Other than contacting multiple Cognac houses in the region, I was wondering if either of you may have some advice on the best way to go about finding and purchasing an old alambic charentais potstill of about 350-400 liters in capacity.
We know these exist because we saw many of them abandoned as we were driving around Grande Champage.
Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.