International Designation Is Sweet Victory for Burgundy

Dream assignment: Go to Burgundy and write about Aubert de Villaine’s decade-long effort to get his region designated as a World Heritage site by the cultural arm of the United Nations. Oh, and while you’re at it, sip from the barrel that’s storing Romanée-Conti from the 2014 harvest. It would be rude not to accept a taste, right?!

To say I’m swooning may be an understatement, as I’m now very jealous of the reporter. But beyond that, it’s a fun read and a greater understanding of why the designation is important to the to winemakers of Burgundy.

For anyone with even a basic knowledge of wine, it may seem unthinkable that the revered wine sites of Burgundy need more recognition than they already have. But the Unesco designation gives a global imprimatur to the French view that great wine can be produced only through a magical combination of climate, geology and history — that ineffable quality often called “terroir.”

And it is sweet vindication for Mr. de Villaine’s long effort to rouse his fellow Burgundy producers to the threat posed by a global wine industry and, in his view, their failure to keep up with rising standards.

“The climats define the unique character of Burgundy’s wine region,” Mr. de Villaine said. “They are an exceptional representation of human ingenuity that must be preserved. What is most important for me is that the people of Burgundy, especially the vignerons, be inspired by the ancient, precious, unique treasure they hold in their hands.”

Read more here: International Designation Is Sweet Victory for Burgundy

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