The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided to include the Champagne Slopes, Houses and Cellars on its world heritage list, in the Living Cultural Landscapes category.
The 21 representatives of the State Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention unanimously voted in favour of the inclusion, recognised the Slops’, Houses’ and Cellars’ ‘Exceptional Universal Value’.
“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,” said Pierre Cheval, president of the Association Paysages du Champagne, which has spent eight years putting together and managing the area’s application.
Champagne's submission put emphasis on the unique industrial heritage that, from the 19th century onwards, helped to establish Champagne wine as a worldwide symbol of quality.
The application encompassed the three sites listed below, chosen to present a representative selection of vineyard sites and Champagne production practices:
- The vineyard area between Cumières and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ – one of the most ancient vineyards in the Champagne area.
- The buildings of the Champagne Houses on Saint-Nicaise hill in Reims and along the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay
- The network of cellars and ‘crayères’ (Gallo-Roman chalk pits) that lie under these three sites – the best examples of their kind in Champagne.