While most of us were enjoying our 4th of July barbecue, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee decided to add 27 new members to the well-known UNESCO World Heritage List. This exclusive list gathers some of the most exceptional places in the world, considered to be of “outstanding universal value” – including sites like Stonehenge, the Giza Pyramids or the Taj Mahal. This status allows the members eligibility for funding for restoration and or/preservation; and, that goes without saying, attracts attention and… more tourists!

So what does this have to do with wine, you ask me? Well last weekend, two famous French winemaking regions were granted that World Heritage status. Burgundy, home of the vins de Bourgogne, and Champagne, land of the sparkling wine, are now both World Heritage sites.

For the latter, the status covers the Champagne hillsides, properties and cellars of the region where “the method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century,” as mentioned by UNESCO in an official statement. The vineyards of the region are a “clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise”, the statement said.

As for the Burgundy region, the vineyards of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune are considered “an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages,” by UNESCO, according to the statement.

Now time to celebrate this amazing cultural recognition with our favorite bottles of Burgundy and sparkling wine of Champagne!