Big news from French wine country. In a triumph for the French viticultural tradition, UNESCO granted World Heritage status to both Champagne and Burgundy vineyards on Saturday. France now has 41 World Heritage sites.
In meetings in Bonn, Germany, U.N.’s cultural body granted the designation to Champagne country’s vineyards, houses and wine cellars- with special mentions of the vineyards in Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ; Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims; and the world-renowned Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, where millions of bottles are aged underground.
“The method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century,” explained the official statement. UNESCO paid tribute to “the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise.”
Burgundy was also popping the cork in celebration, as the prestigious vineyards on the hillsides of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune, just south of Beaune, were recognized by UNESCO. The statement pointed out that they’re “an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages.”