The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided to include the Champagne slopes, houses and cellars on its World Heritage List.
The 21 representatives of the state parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention unanimously voted in favor of including the Champagne slopes, houses and cellars on the World Heritage List in the Living Cultural Landscapes category. The committee members recognized their ‘Exceptional Universal Value’ and deemed that the protection and management conditions for the proposed property had been fulfilled.
The Association Paysages du Champagne spent eight years putting together and managing the area’s application. President Pierre Cheval said: “Inclusion on the list is a form of recognition but also an undertaking to the world’s nations, so we must ensure that we are worthy of it. We are duty bound to preserve and maintain this landscape, know-how and heritage so that we can pass them on unspoilt to future generations.
The application Milestones include:
2002: Included on France’s tentative list.
2008: The Association Paysages du Champagne was founded.
2009: First submission of the provisional Application to the French Properties Committee and appointment of a rapporteur to steer the Application process.
2010: The French Properties Committee approved the Exceptional Universal Value of the Application.
2011: The French Properties Committee approved the geographical area and comparative analysis.
2012: The French Properties Committee approved the management plan.
January 2014: The Application was selected by France.
Autumn 2014/Spring 2015: ICOMOS and IUCN international experts assess the Application.
Summer 2015: 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Germany.
July 2015: The Committee approves the Application
The three distinct ensembles that have been recognized: the historic hillside vineyards between Hautvillers and Aÿ; the architecture of the Champagne houses on Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay..
The Champagne region can only welcome this global recognition, which in turn will increase in wine tourism.