Champagne Looks To Harvest UNESCO Designation


France's Champagne region is looking to end the champagne debate once and for all.
The region, whose name is used by countless sparkling wine producers who do not produce their wines in Champagne, is looking forward to their July 2015 meeting with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in which the region hopes to achieve official UNESCO World Heritage status. 
“Call it an Olympic bid for culture. What's at stake are the recognition that (the region) is 'of outstanding universal value to humanity' and 'without equivalent throughout the world',” reported World Crunch in a translation of an article which appeared in French publication Les Echos. “Being on the list would be a precious tool to fight against fake 'champagnes'”.
The UNESCO bid, which, according to Les Echos, has been six years in the making, will bring the sparkling wine mecca its due, Champagnes official regional website said.
“The Champagne winegrowing region is a perfect candidate (for UNESCO),” the site said. “This is a land unlike any other, home to a unique and enviable wine that is born of a tradition of vine-growing spanning two thousand years of human history.”
Champagne's application for UNESCO chose three sites to represent the region's bid: the vineyard area between Mareuil-sur-Ay, the Champagne Houses in Reims and along Epernay's Avenue de Champagne and the network of cellars and chalk pits which are situated beneath the aforementioned three buildings. 
According to the Champagne region's site, the vineyards listed on the application are “one of the most ancient vineyards in the Champagne AOC area.”
“Together these three sites present a picture of the Champagne AOC as a whole, whose bid for world heritage listing is built on a common stakeholder commitment” to uphold the region's charter for the protection of the Champagne landscape, the site said.
If Champagne is able to win world heritage status, the region will be the sixth wine region to gain the UNESCO designation.
According to Les Echos, France's Saint-Emilion, Portugal's Upper Douro Valley, Hungary's Tokaj Coast, Switzerland's Lavaux and the Azores' Pico Island are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Champagne, however, is not the only French region in the running for UNESCO World Heritage status. Winemakers from Burgundy are already seven years into the process of wooing UNESCO. The region is already home to a UNESCO site: the Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay. 

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