On Saturday, July 4, UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, granted “World Heritage status” to two of France’s most storied wine regions, Champagne and Burgundy. Part of UNESCO’s mission is identifying both natural and cultural sites that are significant to human history, which can in turn receive funding to help with preservation. In Champagne, the region’s hillsides, cellars and even the Houses (or individual producers) were recognized for work dating back to the 17th and 18th century. In Burgundy, the climats of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune were singled out for heritage status, citing the history and quality of wines produced near Beaune but also the political contributions of Dijon in developing the region’s winemaking culture. With these additions, France now boasts 41 world heritage sites.
In a new release sure to please armchair travelers, Google Street View has rolled out virtual winery tours as part of a campaign including 200-plus California locations. Using Street View, users can visit up to 80 wineries, taking advantage of the program’s 360-degree panoramas to get up close and personal with wineries such as Cuvaison Estate Wines, The Hess Collection and Domaine Carneros, among others.
In the Trade:
On Tuesday, June 30, Buffalo Trace Distillery announced the completion of two of its long-standing construction projects. The Franklin County, Kentucky-based distillery finished its 5,500 square foot expansion of its Visitor Center and a full renovation of the historic Old Taylor House, the distillery’s oldest structure. The Visitor Center expanded into a second floor, complete with a grand staircase leading up to four tasting areas and a new meeting and event space. Buffalo Trace plans on constructing a vault in the future, which will house rare, old bottles and display them interactive for guests. The Old Taylor House, in the meantime, has been fully restored to preserve its rich history, dating back to the 1700s. The preservation shows off elements of the house’s original construction, from the horsehair in the walls to the second floor lab, featuring artifacts once used in the house. The House will be incorporated into the distillery’s existing tours. A joint grand opening for the Visitor Center and Old Taylor House will be held in early July.
Peter Yealands, founder of Marlborough, New Zealand based wine company Yealands Wine Group, has sold a 80-percent majority share of his company to local electricity supply company, Marlborough Lines. Yealands reduced his holdings from 75 percent to 15, with Chief Executive Jason Judkins holding the remaining 5 percent. The deal cost Marlborough Lines $89 million and is effective immediately, with no change in day-to-day operations.
In an effort to increase public perception of its regional wines and to increase wine, cider and cheese tourism, North Carolina’s French Broad Vignerons and the Trolley Company of Hendersonville will launch three wine tours originating in Asheville, beginning in mid-July. Fourteen wineries join the effort, with three distinct trails: The Catawba Valley Wine Trail, the Elevations Wine Trail and the Gourmet Wine Trail.
On the Social Scene:
When Entertaining Editors Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen travel to Spain, they do it big. They’ve been eating and touring their way through Madrid and the Spanish countryside, with stops at beaches like this along the way.
Also in Spain, executive editor Susan Kostrzewa is tasting her way through rare old bottles, including these from 1750 and 1852. Looks like a trip is in order.
On the other side of the continent in Rhône, Managing Editor Joe Czerwinski walked through vineyards boasting 100-year old vines before embarking on a rigorous tasting schedule of wine.
— Joe Czerwinski (@JoeCz) June 22, 2015