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Burgundy and Champagne vineyards celebrate after being declared UN world heritage sites

Published:  06 July, 2015

Vineyards in Burgundy and champagne have been listed as United Nations world heritage sites.

UNESCO has recognised Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune in Burgundy wine industry, specifically the vineyards and associated production units including villages and the tow of Beaune, and the historic centre of Dijon which the organisation said embodies the "regulatory impetus that gave birth to the climats system".

It said the Dijon area is "an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the Middle Ages".

In Champagne, recognition has been give to the historic vineyards of Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, along with Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay.

Together the sites are deemed to be significant in the early development of methode champenoise production through to the early industrialisation period of the 19th century.

UNESCO said the combination of sites "bears close testimony to the development of a very specialised artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise".

Claude Chevalier, president of Burgundy regulatory body the BIVB, said the decision was the result of "eight years of hard work, raising awareness and mobilising communities".

He added: "We are even more happy that we can share our joy with our friends in Champagne.

"But this decision is by no means an end. It is a marker in our history, the history of the women and men who have shaped these landscapes, built these walls, constructed these shelters, identified every plot, and constructed towns and villages across the Bourgogne winegrowing region.

"The decision means we mush continue our quest for quality without putting our region in a glass case, rather by ensuring the continuity of our business and the lives of populations, while respecting those vineyards that represent our livelihood and which we will hand on to the next generation."

Pierre Cheval, president of the Association of Paysages du Champagne, said that the news had brought "a feeling of great satisfaction and collective delight".

He added: "We are duty-bound to preserve and maintain this landscape, know-how and heritage so that we can pass them on unspolit to future generations."

Frédéric Dufour, president of Ruinart, added: "We are very proud of this classification which will allow our Champagne houses, as well as the whole region, to shine even more brightly throughout the world.

"It is a very special distinction for all the men and women who have developed the region. They were driven by their passion, courage and the pursuit of excellence."