VERNIERES is the name of one of the oldest families of Roquefort. Its history is melded with the history of the village and its cheese-making activity.
In volume I of the chroniques de Roquefort, from 1433 to 1714, the name of VERNIERES appears more than forty times across the centuries.
As in Roquefort “no wheat nor vine nor any other culture grows”, all these VERNIERES were more or less bound to the cheese of Roquefort, the only local production. They were the owners of cabins which became caves afterwards. The word “cabane” remains in the word “cabanière”, which is the present designation of a woman working in a maturing cave.
According to the “compoix” (land register of the ancient regime) from 1664 to 1671, 5 caves out of 18 in Roquefort belong to Vernières.
Along the centuries, Vernières were known as cheese ripeners and merchants in Roquefort. From 1710, more accurate documents show the complete genealogy of the family.
Of course there is no capitalistic structure in our present meaning. Each Vernières developed their own business to feed their family in the first place.
In 1889 Paulin Vernières founded the Vernières “company”, exclusively family, led by Jean-François RICARD, great-great-great grandson (5 generation further) of the founder.
Over the centuries in Roquefort, the Vernières took the opportunity to acquire the best maturing caves and to choose the most interesting sheep milk producers, building in that way, an unrivalled know-how.
By their self-will to cross the centuries from 1433, and maybe sooner, the VERNIERES learned from history :
– To know their job perfectly
– To be free men (no external capital what so ever)
– To be rebellious and against any system that hinders free enterprise as proven by the brand Cave Indépendante hereunder (release date : October 11th. 1935)
– To win export markets in distributing their Roquefort as much as possible, as well as continuously innovating.
– To be surrounded with competent staff, always loyal to the company. “When you join the Vernières, it’s like entering the Church” as the employees sometimes say.
– And above all to perpetuate their history in history.
Nowadays still, out of the quest for honors or media hype but just making its Roquefort for the most experienced gourmets, forever in all competitions and exhibitions, the Roquefort Vernières always stands out and needs no fuss to be recognized.