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Michele Chiarlo

Piedmont Winegrowing Region Declared Unesco World Heritage Site

July 1, 2014
Michele Chiarlo’s famed Cerequio Vineyard in Barolo

UNESCO has declared Piedmont’s Langhe-Roero and Monferrato winegrowing regions a World Heritage Site. Michele Chiarlo has been central to earning this great honor for his region over the past decade. He said, “As these are the first Italian wine-growing areas to enjoy this ambitious recognition, we have received it with great pride and responsibility, especially in the knowledge that we producers must be vigilant guardians of our territory.”

The designation covers roughly 25,000 acres and encompasses Barolo, Barbaresco, Nizza Monferrato and Barbera, the “infernots” (ancient underground cellars) of Monferrato, Canelli and Moscato d’Asti. Not just the vineyard landscape, but “the whole range of technical and economic processes relating to the winegrowing and wine making that has characterized the region for centuries” are honored by this designation.

Piedmont’s importance is evident throughout history. According to UNESCO, vine pollen dating back to the 5th century BC has been found here. Wine-related Etruscan and Celtic terms are still spoken in the local dialect; and during the Roman Empire, Pliny the Elder calls Piedmont one of the best areas for growing vines.

In the designated area, it is mandatory to comply with strict criteria with regard to construction, using environmentally friendly and traditional materials, and construction of industrial buildings adjacent to the vineyards is prohibited.

There are now 1,007 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. UNESCO’s mission is to identify, protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage sites around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. With 49 World Heritage Sites, Italy boasts more than any other country.

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