The advertising signs that adorn the famous Hermitage slope may be removed as part of a new environmental heritage bill proposed by French authorities.
The signs, the most prominent of which advertise the Jaboulet and Chapoutier vineyards, have become an iconic part of the steep hillside.
However, as part of the move to classify the Hermitage hill, which overlooks the town of Tain l’Hermitage, as an environmental heritage site, the signs are set to be taken down.
The mayor of Tain l’Hermitage, Gilbert Bouchet, would like to see the signs removed. According to Veronique Chalencon, who has worked on the project, they ‘disturb the natural landscape’.
However, Michel Chapoutier, current president of the Hermitage wine growers union, opposes any plans to remove the signs.
‘Why take down the signs on the walls? They have been there for a long time on private property,’ Ingrid Delubac, an assistant for Chapoutier, told decanter.com
Winemakers are also concerned that classification could complicate vineyard work – including building or repair of terrace supporting walls.
‘It may bring more bureaucracy,’ Delubac added.
A revised environmental project is currently being drafted to take into account the views from the wine growers union.
‘We have had several meetings to reassure [winemakers],’ said Chalencon.
The bill will be examined later this year by a commission in Paris.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos