What do two wine producing regions in France, a victorian railway bridge and a botanical garden have in common?
It may sound like the start of a joke, but it’s not. They have all been recently awarded ‘World Heritage Status” by UNESCO.
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and is a specialised agency of the United Nations system. The organisation was created in 1946 with the aim of ‘building defences of peace in the minds of men.’
The World Heritage List was first published in 1978. The idea was to list places on Earth that were of outstanding universal value to humanity. To secure a place on the list a site must be of special cultural or physical significance. The sites listed are intended to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. The first list from 1978 contained 12 protected monuments and included the Galapagos Islands and Aachen Cathedral. At present there are over 1,000 sites listed split over 163 states.
In July 2015 the latest additions to the UNESCO list were announced and among the winners were the wine producing regions of Champagne and part of Burgundy, the Forth Bridge in Scotland and Singapore’s botanical gardens.
UNESCO said that the Champagne status covered “the places sparkling wine was developed using a second fermentation method in the bottle from the beginning of the 17th century until its early industrialisation in the 19th century”. Special mention was made of Hautvilliers, where legend has it that, Dom Perignon invented Champagne. For more information on why we celebrate with Champagne check out our blog post here.
In Burgundy, the vineyards on the slopes of the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune, which sit to the south of Dijon were marked out for World Heritage Status. These vineyards produce pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, which are then used to produce some of the finest red wines in the world.
UNESCO have helpfully produced an app listing all of the World Heritage Status Sites – albeit that it needs to be updated to include the newest additions to the list. Using the app, it’s possible to tick off the Sites you’ve visited. So, that means 24 down for us, just 1,007 to go!
Image by Vassil (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons