The heart of Piedmont is one of the latest United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage List sites. The recognized area, which counts around 25,000 acres, includes Barolo, Barbaresco, Nizza Monferrato and Barbera, the “infernots” of Monferrato, Canelli and Moscato d’Asti and the castle of Grinzane Cavour.
Present to accept the award, Pietro Ratti, president of the Consorzio di Tuteli Barolo Barbaresco Alab Langhe e Roero, said “It was a fantastic moment, with lots of emotion,” “I think this UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition will give more prestige to an area and wines which are already very well-known and loved by many people.”
Backed by the Piedmont region and the well-known provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo, the nomination process officially began in 2006, was presented to UNESCO in 2011 and was resubmitted in 2013 after some amendments.
The area officially called “The Vineyard Landscape of piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato” received the recognition of cultural landscape for both its natural and human significance.
The recognition is expected to benefit the area both economically and agriculturally. “Experiences from other UNESCO areas tell of an increase in tourism of about 30 percent in the first five years,” said Luciano Bertello, president of Enoteca del Roero. “Certainly there will be very specific constraints, but rather than affect it will in fact give value to the viticulture. This recognition will further encourage responsibility among the producers of grapes and wine to act as main custodians of the territory.”
With its 49 sites, Italy is the country with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are currently 1,007 recognised sites from 161 countries worldwide. UNESCO encourages important cultural and natural heritages to get identified, protected and carefully preserved. To be chosen, an area must demonstrate a natural significance so outstanding to overcome national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations.
“It will be an incredible opportunity of promotion and protection of these fantastic hills,” added Ratti. At the same time, we have more responsibility to preserve it as it is now. We just have to remain as we are, as a stimulus to keep on doing our job well, as our fathers did and their fathers before them. This is the real spirit and essence of our land and this is the responsibility we have to pass to our children.”
Piedmont is the second largest of Italy's 20 regions, after Sicily and is surrounded on three sides by the Alps. It borders with France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, Aosta Valley and for a very small fragment with Emilia Romagna. The geography of Piedmont is 43.3% mountainous, along with extensive areas of hills (30.3%) and plains (26.4%).
Source: Wine Spectator, “UNESCO Adds Piedmont Wine Regions to World Heritage List”, published 27 June 2014.
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