The Climates of Burgundy Included on UNESCO's World Heritage List
On Saturday July 4th 2015, during its 39th assembly in Bonn, Germany, the World Heritage Committee added the Climates of Burgundy to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This cultural property has thus demonstrated that it possesses Outstanding Universal Value ; The treasure for humanity, which has now been officially recognized worldwide is this : 1,247 Climates, or parcels of vineyard, with evocative names like Montrachet, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Corton, Musigny, Chambertin…..which express the cultural diversity of the Burgundy wine region. Finally, after eight years of effort and anticipation, the Burgundian dream has become a reality.
“Today, I would like to pay tribute to all of those involved in this adventure, whose faith in the project and passionate support have never wavered. I extend my sincere thanks to you all. This inscription is the result of a collective effort, conducted in close cooperation by the local authorities, State services, scientific committee, the wine world, businesses and patrons, and over 64,000 people who joined our Support Committee”, declared Aubert de Villaine, President of the Association des Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne (Association for the Climates of Burgundy) which has brought the candidature to fruition.
“This inscription is also a recognition of the work of generations, of the Cistercian monks, Dukes of Burgundy, men and women, winegrowers, – all of whom have, throughout the centuries, painstakingly shaped the vineyards of Burgundy in their determined quest for excellence. It is a source of great pride for us that the Climates of Burgundy have become a World Heritage Site for humanity, and from now on, this confirms our commitment to the community of nations. ”
The Climates of Burgundy: the combined work of man and nature
Burgundy’s wine region has been shaped over 2,000 years. Wine-growing here is characterized by the constant commitment to precise reference of place (the Climate) and of time (vintage) as markers of quality in wine production. This notion of identity is best expressed along the 60 kilometer wine-growing Côte which links Dijon to Santenay. The multitude of inter-connected Climates extends over the area, like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, creating a mosaic of unique crus (wines) and a host of illustrious names. Each one possesses its own history, distinctive flavor and place in the wine hierarchy. Each has been gradually crafted by man’s creative genius combined with an exceptional natural setting. Together with Dijon and Beaune, the historical urban centers of political and economic power and cultural influence, the Climates of Burgundy constitute an exceptional and dynamic repository of ancestral expertise and traditions. Over the centuries, the construction of the Climates vineyards has created a remarkable landscape and an exceptional built heritage in the towns and villages, as well as among the vines.
“We are fortunate to be able to affirm that what we are creating here is so much more than wine; and that what we are showing is so much more than landscapes. It is the cultural construction of a very long and rich history, which stands out because it is unique and exceptional”, assures Bernard Pivot, President of the candidature’s Support Committee.
A wine-growing model founded on the notion of terroir acclaimed throughout the world
Although the candidature of the Climates of Burgundy for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage site is deeply rooted in the region, its importance extends well beyond territorial boundaries. The Climates’ application has crossed international frontiers and established a basis for inter-cultural dialogue with other terroir-based agriculture, like coffee in Columbia, tea in China and saffron in India, etc. These examples of agricultural production all have in common features such as origin, history and ancestral expertise. This is one of the observations to emerge from the significant symposium on terroir-based economies, held in February 2015. UNESCO’s recognition of the Burgundian terroir-based model confirms the importance of these very diverse agricultural productions for civilization. Their strength lies in producing a response to the threat of standardization, which is one of the effects of market globalization.
A date which will go down in the history of Burgundy
World Heritage inscription has opened a new page in the history of the Climates of Burgundy. Just as the creation of the AOC system did in 1936, this inclusion will guarantee the preservation and transmission of the site for future generations.