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Government Support For UNESCO Site Will Benefit NZ

January 5, 2014

Central Otago winegrowers are encouraging the government to support a nomination by an influential group of French winegrowers from Burgundy to list their region as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By supporting the Burgundian’s bid, the New Zealand Government will be endorsing Central Otago’s burgeoning position as an international producer of quality Pinot Noir.

The Climats of Burgundy delegation, spearheaded by one of the world’s most pre-eminent winegrowers, Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, will meet with government leaders late in January to present their case for nomination.

To gain UNESCO World Heritage Site status the vineyards must show their contemporary relevance and their universal value to the world today. The benefits New Zealand, particularly Central Otago’s Pinot Noir region, has gained from its relationship with Burgundy is testament to proving this.

The delegation, who has been invited here by the winegrowers of Central Otago, will attend a reception in Wellington hosted by the French Embassy to which a number of senior politicians have been invited and then fly to Central Otago to join the region’s winegrowers and their guests at the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration.

Wanaka winegrower, Nick Mills, organiser of the visit and founder of the Central Otago Burgundy Exchange, says that support for the nomination will bring significant international recognition of the quality of New Zealand Pinot Noir.

He comments that “following many years of experimentation, Central Otago realised its own potential to grow Pinot Noir, just as it was nurtured and developed long ago in Burgundy.”

“Whether we were conscious of it or not, the Burgundian model has helped germinate and shape something beautiful here, on the other side of the world.”

To strengthen and maintain this relationship, an educational and cultural exchange has been fostered between the two regions since 2006.

Through joint exchange projects the regions have shared tradition and experience, with freedom and a fresh approach he says.

President of the Central Otago Winegrowers Association, James Dicey, believes the visit will serve to reinforce those fraternal ties.

“An immense depth of empirical knowledge, meaningful tradition and rich cultural heritage has been generously offered by the Burgundians to Central Otago winegrowers over the years. We will therefore be both gratified and privileged to have them here in Central,” he says.

“We’re delighted to support their World Heritage bid for, as the balance of the exchange has clearly shown to date, their win is also ours.”

A further reciprocal event is planned in Burgundy in October this year.


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