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France’s Champagne Region Toasted with UNESCO World Heritage Status

The 21 representatives of the State Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention unanimously voted in favor of including the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars on the World Heritage List in the Living Cultural Landscapes category.

The committee members recognized the region’s Exceptional Universal Value and deemed that the protection and management conditions for the proposed property had been fulfilled.

The emotion was palpable among the French representatives from UNESCO, the Ministries of Culture and the Environment, and the delegation from the Champagne region.

“A feeling of great satisfaction and collective delight! My thoughts immediately turn to all those who worked on the application, all the partners who supported this slightly crazy undertaking, and the local people whose area has just received worldwide recognition. Inclusion on the list is a form of recognition but also a responsibility 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 it on to future generations. We have a date with history, our very own history!” said a delighted Pierre Cheval, president of the Association Paysages du Champagne, which has spent eight years putting together and managing the area’s application.

The Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars are not a standard vineyard landscape. This is clear to see in the unique way that the landscape’s sites are organized and the intensive work done by the Champenois. The area has been home to the rise of an original wine production, and in turn making and selling wine from this method since the 18th century—a method that is still in use today and that has left its mark on the region and its rural and urban landscapes—and given rise to a globally renowned wine, a symbol of celebrations and parties. It is a unique grouping of landscapes and sites packed with history, culture and know-how. This is why the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars are now classified as being of Exceptional Universal Value.

More information on the Champagne region can be found at www.champagne.us

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