Place sliced onions in a 6 quart slow cooker.
Stir in the melted butter, sugar, salt, and pepper. Top with thyme and bay leaf, COVER, and cook on LOW for about 8 hours or until onions are browned and caramelized. Stir halfway through.
Once onions are caramelized, stir in the beef broth and wine. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly.
Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours, or on HIGH for 2 hours, or until heated through.
Remove the lid and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and transfer the bowls to a large baking sheet.
Top the soup in the bowls with a slice of French bread and shredded cheese.
Turn the oven-broiler to High.
Broil the soups in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve.