The wine-growing landscapes of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato celebrate ten years of inclusion in the World Heritage List.

It was June 22, 2014. Among the sand dunes of Doha, Qatar, the green wine-growing landscapes of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato were proclaimed the 50th Italian site included in the list of World Heritage Sites. The first UNESCO site entirely based on the culture of vines and wine, divided into six main territories: the famous Langa of the noble Barolo, the king of wines; the magical Grinzane Cavour Castle, a unique place for the history of Piedmontese viticulture as well as the seat of our Knights; the hills where Barbaresco is produced, another great expression of Nebbiolo; Nizza Monferrato and the well-known Barbera; Canelli and the tradition of Asti sparkling wine; the Monferrato degli Infernot, true works of architectural art carved into the rock, used to house the bottles.

Therefore, the anniversary is now upon us: in a few days we will celebrate the first round birthday. A ten-year anniversary with many facets and just as many meanings. On the one hand, there are the results achieved: from 2014 to today, the UNESCO recognition has brought with it a 30% increase in tourist flows to the wine hills and a strong international recognition, so much so that Langhe, Monferrato and Roero can count on almost 670 thousand arrivals and over 1 million and 400 thousand presences, confirming itself as one of the most renowned food and wine destinations in the world. On the other hand, there are questions about the future: having acquired awareness of its potential, the territory wants to take the opportunity of the anniversary not only to celebrate the goals achieved, but also and above all to create a moment of assessment, reflection and discussion with the community on the socio-economic impact of the UNESCO recognition and on the joint planning of responsible and aware tourism, attentive to the issues of protection and safeguarding of the delicate and fragile cultural landscape of Alba, Asti and Alessandria.

So the Association for the Heritage of the Vitivinicultural Landscapes of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato is planning an intense calendar of events spread throughout the territory, moving between art, music, sport and tourism. The key event, on the birthday, will be in the shadow of the Grinzane Cavour Castle, the symbolic monument of the Langhe, with a concert preceded on 21 June by an in-depth discussion of the Food&Wine Tourism Forum on the themes of valorisation and preservation of natural heritage and cultural. We will start from research on the creation of value for tourism in World Heritage sites, with particular attention to wine-growing landscapes, to arrive at the challenges of climate change and digital acceleration.

In fact, the territory is also working on the drafting of a management plan and monitoring indicators for the UNESCO site, which will be presented at the end of the year. “The 2024 operational plan – says the president of the Association, Giovanna Quaglia – responds to the need to have an overall direction and vision on the future of the Association and on the concrete actions, divided into the two ordinary and extraordinary pillar categories, to be undertake operationally during the year, involving public and private partners and local stakeholders”. And she explains: “The focus of the 2024 activities is to celebrate the beauty of a territory which, through the lens of these ten years, questions itself about the future and does so in an innovative way, giving value to cultural identity, enhancing the community, involving partners. The ten-year anniversary aims to be not only an achievement to be celebrated, but also and above all a moment of assessment, reflection and discussion with the community of the socio-economic impact of the UNESCO recognition on the territory together with the drafting of the new management plan of the Site, for a sustainable present and future networked with the various interlocutors”.

The Association, from its creation to today, has gathered the membership of over one hundred municipalities and numerous associations and companies, not only linked to the wine sphere, but which operate in various capacities in the area of ​​competence and which actively participate in the ambitious project aimed at recognizing the uniqueness and exceptionality of this landscape. “The tenth anniversary year – says the director of the Association and the Langhe Monferrato Roero Tourism Board, Bruno Bertero – is not 12 months of celebrations as an end in themselves, but wants and must be a moment of collective reflection, for everyone, about how much has changed in these 10 years. We have already commissioned Bocconi University to carry out a study on the long-term social, economic and communication impact of the UNESCO nomination”.

by journalist and Knight Roberto Fiori