France wine country toasted with World Heritage status

12th century church of Chavot in the Champagne-Ardenne region.

Story highlights

  • Hillsides, houses and cellars of Champagne granted UNESCO World Heritage status
  • Slopes of Burgundy, France, also receive special status

(CNN)France's world renowned wine country was toasted twice Saturday with world heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The U.N.'s cultural body bestowed the special status on the historic hillsides and properties where the sparkling wines of Champagne are produced, as well as the famous vineyards that grace the slopes of Burgundy.
The designation covers the Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars 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," UNESCO said in a statement.
    The vineyards in Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay bear "clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise," the statement said.