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Burgundy, Champagne miss out on UNESCO status

The two French wine regions hoping for UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2014 have been told their candidature has not been successful - for now.

Burgundy’s climats: UNESCO listing in 2015?

Both the mosaic of winegrowing plots in Burgundy, known as climats, and the cellars and caves of Champagne, had submitted applications to the French ministries of Culture and the Environment, to be put forward for protected status through UNESCO.

The Burgundy Climats project had been worked on for a number of years, while President Hollande more recently agreed to support the Champagne dossier, in September 2012.

Instead, the 25,000-year-old cave paintings in Chauvet and the volcanoes of the Auvergne will represent France at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in July 2014.

With 50,000 signatories backing the campaign, and a sense of expectation building, Burgundy was disappointed but not surprised at the news.

Krystel Lepresle, who heads the Climats project alongside Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, told Decanter.com, ‘UNESCO introduced new rules that one country was not able to submit more than one natural landmark and one cultural landmark, so we knew our chances were lessened. But we will continue with our sustainable development programme as planned for the rest of this year.’

Neither Champagne nor Burgundy has had its application rejected; they will be submitted to UNESCO one year from now, in January 2014, for a possible official listing in July 2015.

To date, France has 37 sites on the heritage list, including the vineyards of Saint Emilion; French cuisine was included in 2010 as an embodiment of cultural heritage.

But simply being submitted is no guarantee: all 21 member states of the World Heritage Commission must be convinced of a candidate’s suitability.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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