The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided to include the Champagne Slopes, Houses and Cellars on its world heritage list. A historic decision has been taken! The 21 representatives of the State Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention unanimously voted in favour 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 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 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. 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 Slopes, Houses and Cellars are not a standard vineyard landscape! This is clear to see in the way that the landscape’s sites are organized and the work done by men and women, the rise of an original wine production, making and selling method from the 18th century onwards, 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. A unique grouping of landscapes and sites, packed with history, culture and know-how. This is why the Champagne Slopes, Houses and Cellars are now classed as being of Exceptional Universal Value.
The Exceptional Universal Value of the Champagne vineyard cultural landscape, the birthplace of champagne wine, has now been recognized with its inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. And in a broader sense, all the work done to produce, make and publicize champagne wine passed down the generations and preserved in the 320 AOC champagne districts located in the five French départements of Marne, Aube, Aisne, Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne.