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Burgundy climats edge closer to UNESCO listing

The campaign for Burgundy's Cote d'Or Climats to join the UNESCO world heritage list has moved closer to its goal.

Climats: centurys-old heritage

Last week the Ministry of Ecology and Culture agreed to officially propose its inclusion in the July 2013 listing.

The term climat is specific to Burgundy, and relates to a named plot of vines most usually dating back centuries, with one of the oldest being Clos de Bèze, which can trace its origins to 640AD.

The Cote d’Or climats stretch between the towns of Dijon and Santenay, just south of Beaune, encompassing vineyards in the Cotes de Nuits and those in the Cotes de Beaune. In total, the submission concerns 50km of land, and 1,247 individual climats.

Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée Conti is president of the association behind the movement, which will see the Burgundy vineyards proposed alongside 25,000-year-old cave paintings in the Grotte Ornée Chauvet-Pont d’Arc.

UNESCO recognition can lead to a 30% increase in tourism, Christelle le Presle, who has been working alongside Villaine, told Decanter.com, something they are ‘well placed to deal with.’

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

Inclusion is not easy. All 21 member states of the World Heritage Commission must be convinced of a candidate’s suitability. Champagne made an unsuccessful bid in 2009, and again in this latest round. In Italy, the region of Prosecco is being submitted for inclusion.

A decision will be announced in July 2013, following a statutory 18 months consultation period.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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