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Burgundy earmarks funds for Unesco cultural landscape bid

Burgundy has said it will donate €400,000 annually to support its bid to become a Unesco World Heritage site.

The money – earmarked annually from 2011 to 2013 – was announced at the Hospices de Beaune auction last month.

Burgundy applied to list the ‘Climats’ of the Cote d’Or as a Unesco World Heritage Cultural Landscape last year.

A cultural landscape is defined by Unesco as ‘combined works of nature and humankind, that express a long and intimate relationship between peoples and their natural environment’.

In winemaking terms the expression ‘climat’ is unique to Burgundy. It is identified as a combination of geology, grape varieties, wine knowledge, soil, subsoil, exposure, microclimate and taste profile within the hierarchy of crus, and can be applied to a particular parcel or vineyard which has been known by the same name for several centuries.
Burgundy’s Unesco application is limited to the Cote d’Or, the 60 km stretch from Dijon to Santenay, which covers the 1247 climats in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

This is among the world’s most celebrated vineland, from Gevrey-Chambertin to Montrachet via Vosnee Romanee, Pommard and Volnay.

Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee Conti and president of the Association pour l’Inscription des Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne au Patrimoine Mondial de l’UNESCO, said the bid highlights the responsibility of vignerons to preserve and protect their terroir.

‘We all [both Burgundians and the rest of the world] share this strip of land. Burgundy is a model for the whole viticultural world and the reference for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.’

De Villaine said supporting the bid was ‘a way for me to support Burgundy for its excellence’.

The bid should mean a 15-20% increase in tourism, with social, environmental and cultural benefits, and an increase in local wine sales and exports.

The final application will be submitted to the French government at the end of 2011.

Champagne is making a second bid in this same category after it was unsuccessful in 2009.

Although a country can only submit one bid, de Villaine said Burgundy is not competing with Champagne.
The final decision on which region represents France will be taken in 2013.

Unesco already lists nine wine regions as cultural heritage sites: St-Emilion, the Loire, Tokaj, Wachaum, the Rhine, Cinque Terre in Italy, the Douro Alto, Pico Island in the Azores and Lavaux in Switzerland.

Written by Amanda Regan

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