The historic vineyards, wine cellars and champagne houses where the world’s most famous sparking wines are produced have been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
In a double victory for French wine, the vineyards of Burgundy were crowned with the same prestigious distinction on Saturday by the UN cultural body in the German city of Bonn.
UNESCO said the champagne’s world heritage status covers “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.”
The rolling hills of the northern French Champagne region, where the grapes for the sought-after bubbly are grown, have already some of the most expensive agricultural land in Europe.
But inclusion on UNESCO’s vaunted list can bring further economic benefits, because as well as being a powerful tourist draw, world heritage sites are eligible for financial assistance towards preservation.
The World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn also granted the status to two sites in Iran – the troglodyte settlements of Maymand and the ancient city of Susa – as well as Singapore’s Botanical Gardens and the Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain sacred landscape in Mongolia.
The legendary Alamo battleground in Texas was also being considered for the distinction at the session.