The vineyards of Burgundy want to be a World Heritage Site

by Arnaldo Alcón Cánovas

Can a vineyard be declared a World Heritage Site? In Burgundy they believe so, and have embarked to achieve it.

Les “Climats” du Vignoble de Bourgogne is the title chosen to present the nomination to UNESCO’s World Heritage.

Burgundian Climats to be declared World Heritage Site is the dream of many winegrowers the Burgundy region, mainly in the areas between Dijon and Beaune. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Aubert de Villaine, grower in Côte-d’Or, the request complies with all local stakeholders such as the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB), the Burgundy Regional Council, the General Council Côte d ‘Or, the city of Dijon and Beaune Town Hall, offering their support and commitment to this major project.

A “climat” (weather), in Burgundy is more than just the weather. Is the name given here in Burgundy to what in the world is called “terroir”, is the conjunction of climate and soil.

In a climat, the parcels of land that benefit from specific geological and climatic conditions are precisely defined, along with the work of men and the use of only 2 grapes, Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines, have created a mosaic of exceptional wines and world-class hierarchy.

Outstanding Universal Value

To be included on the prestigious list, a candidate site must provide proof of “outstanding universal value”. Burgundy has built over 2000 years of tradition a classification unit development based on the characteristic and unique expression of “local identity” that has a plot of land dedicated to vines.

What is called climat.

The climats run along the Côte d’Or vineyards, in just 100 kms, between Dijon and Santenay, where about 1,500 climats are joined together like pieces of a puzzle. Each of these climat has its history, its flavor, its place in the hierarchy of wines that human ingenuity has built slowly and combined with an exceptional physical environment.

Therefore, wines like Chablis or Beaujolais, despite belonging to the Burgundy region, would be out of this statement which mainly includes the vineyards of Designations related to the Côte de Beaune and Côtes de Nuits. Within these sub-designations there are very prestigious ones such as Gevrey-Chambertin, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Aloxe-Corton, Volnay and Vosne-Romanée.

Related to the cities of Dijon and Beaune, the historic sites of political, economic and cultural, the climat of the Burgundy vineyards is a site of outstanding universal value.

The nomination of World Heritage Site will not have additional restrictions. However, it requires proof that there is a concerned management about the perpetuation of this denomination area. To do this, you set an action plan developed with the assistance of the local authority to make everyone aware of the value of the site and preserve it.

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