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Cultural Landscapes - Vinyards

Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 15 Jul 2011 03:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The inclusion of 2 Vinyard landscapes among the sites put forward for 2012 set me thinking about this apparently unstoppable phenomenon!

Already by 2001 there was enough "critical mass" for there to be a "Thematic Expert Meeting on Vinyard Cultural landscapes" . Among all the subjects they discussed, the issue as to how many "Vinyard Cultural Landscapes" the UNESCO List needed doesn't seem to have been addressed or even asked!

Indeed the meeting recommended a full "Thematic study" on Vinyard Cultural landscapes - presumably on the basis that yet more sites could be justified! Although I have been unable to find further reference to such a meeting the interested parties had got together by 2005 to create VITOUR, first as a 2 year project' then as a "permanent organisation" of originally 6, now 10, European Vinyard Cultural Landscapes

Our "Connections" list identifies 23 current sites with a Wine growing aspect – of these perhaps 10, as per the VITOUR current membership, are inscribed significantly because of their vinyard landscape. For interest, these 10 sites were all inscribed during a "Vinyard golden age" between 1997 and 2007 (and 5 after the expert meeting in 2001) - Amalfitana 1997, St Emelion 1999, Wachau 2000, Ferto Neuseidler See 2001, Douro 2001, Tokaji 2002, Upper Middle Rhine 2002, Val d'Orcia 2004, Pico 2004, Lavaux 2007,

The inclusion of Ferto Neuseidler See is of interest. We hadn't previously identified it as having a Vineyard "Connection" on our list and I was a bit surprised as I had always seen it primarily as a lacustrine inscription whose main attributes were reed beds and the flora/fauna of a saline lake. But it is inscribed as a "Cultural Landscape" rather than a natural site and, indeed, a trawl through the Nomination file identified that it includes the Historic Centre (only) of the lakeside town of Rust (Austria), of which Wiki says "The city is famous because of its wines, especially for Beerenauslese, Eiswein and last but not least - Ruster Ausbruch" . The file also contains maps showing land use and "Vinyards" are certainly shown within the core area but almost nothing is said about them that I can see. It would certainly appear that this aspect of the site was minimised in the nomination but that doesn't prevent it being maximised after inscription – hence the Site's joining VITOUR. (Els - so it looks as if the site should be added to the Vinyard Connection – and perhaps also there is justification for a new connection for the current 10 VITOUR members?)

However, despite this excess of inscribed Vinyard Landscapes the current T List contains a further 7 sites clearly identified by their names for their wine growing - and there may be yet others for which wine growing is but a part of the claimed OUV :-
Croatia. Primošten Vinyards (Added to T List in 2007)
France. Le Vignoble Champenois (2002 – Nominated for 2012)
France. Vignoble des cotes de nuits et de Beaune (2002)
Italy. Wine Grape Landscapes: Langhe, Roero, Monferrato and Valtellina (2006 – Nominated for 2012)
Slovakia. Tokaj Wine Region (extension?) (2002)
South Africa. Cape Winelands Cultural Landscape (2004)
Spain. Wine and Vineyard Cultural Itinerary through Mediterranean Towns (1998)

I note that California, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Romania and others still haven't got round to proposing that they too should have a Vinyard inscription but hasn't this aspect of human activity already been adequately covered even before next year's nominations?

Author evilweevil
#2 | Posted: 15 Jul 2011 04:58 
Regarding the Fertö-Lake Neusiedl site, I can safely say that its major cultural feature is the vineyards. I live not too far away, and the region is a popular destination for people from Vienna and Bratislava, and a big reason for that is the wine....

The major sights are the old town of Rust in Austria, and the Baroque palace of Fertöd on the Hungarian side. Apart from these, the cultural landscape is basically just vineyards, especially on the western side of the lake.

The eastern side, known as the Seewinkel, is best known for its natural aspects (it is a joint Austrian-Hungarian national park) and is a haven for birdwatchers. I think the site was originally nominated as a mixed site, but then UNESCO would only accept the cultural aspects. That's a pity, because the natural features are probably more unique than the cultural ones.

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 15 Jul 2011 05:13 
I think the site was originally nominated as a mixed site, but then UNESCO would only accept the cultural aspects.

Thanks for that info evilweevil (and about all those vinyards!!). That perhaps explains why the nomination file has so much in it about the natural aspects and so little about the vinyards etc!! I guess it was produced for a different set of circumstances and had to be re-jigged rather late on

On another point. Do you know if the buildings of the Ferod Palace of Esterhazy are included - I thought they probably were but again the Nom File spends most of it
s time describing the garden.
If they are then Els - there should be a "Connection" to "Theatres" as it contains a major Baroque theatre

Author evilweevil
#4 | Posted: 15 Jul 2011 08:09 
I haven't yet been to the palace, but I plan to go there sometime this year. I have always thought it was an integral part of the WH site, and it would really surprise me if just the gardens were included, but not the building itself. All the brochures and documentaries about the site I have ever seen prominently feature the palace, but they don't have a good homepage to check. When I have been there, I will update my review for this site to describe the palace a bit.

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