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UNESCO lists Champagne and Burgundy as heritage sites

July 5, 2015

UNESCO has added the historic vineyards and cellars of Champagne and the unique natural climate of Burgundy vineyards to its list of World Heritage Sites. The decision set corks popping in France.

Symbolbild - Sylvester - Der Korken knallt
Image: Fotolia/psdesign1

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn took its decision on Saturday in a double victory for French wine.

A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or natural significance.

UNESCO said the champagne's World Heritage status includes "the places sparkling wine was developed using a second fermentation method in the bottle from the beginning of the 17th century until its early industrialization in the 19th century."

The decision covers three main sites: the historic vineyards of Hautvilliers, Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay, Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay.

The avenue of Champagne in the city of Epernay is where most of France's most prestigious champagne houses are based, in buildings above kilometers of caves where millions of bottles are stored.

The UNESCO decision covers the vineyards, the wine cellars where the champagnes are produced, as well as the sales and distribution centers.


The vineyards of Burgundy were also listed by the UN's cultural organization, which recommended the site as "an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages."

Also included are the vineyard parcels on the slopes of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune south of the city of Dijon, and village production units, and the town of Beaune along with the historic center of Dijon.

UNESCO said Burgundy embodied the "political regulatory impetus that gave birth to the climate system" of the vineyards with their specific natural conditions, vine types and recognizable wines.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn also granted the status to two sites in Iran: the troglodyte settlements of Maymand and the ancient city of Susa. Singapore's Botanical Gardens and the Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain sacred landscape in Mongolia also made the list.

The program catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund.

jm/bk (AFP, UNESCO)