Dry Stone Walls: A Symbol of Heroic Viticulture, Heritage of Humanity

It is the second rural practice recognised by UNESCO after the traditional practice of cultivating head-trained bush vines (“vite ad alberello”) on the island of Pantelleria.

Dry stone walls: a symbol of heroic viticulture, Heritage of Humanity. Roberto Gaudio, Cervim: “Extreme winemakers are true guardians of the landscape.”

The territories identified by Unesco for dry stone walls (Cyprus, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland) are areas suitable for heroic viticulture.

“The recognition by Unesco of the rural practice of dry stone walls, which has been inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity, stands as great testimony to heroic viticulture on steep slopes and in the entire Mediterranean Region, honouring and valuing the work of heroic winemakers.” Roberto Gaudio, president of the Cervim, highlights indeed how the art of dry stone walls – a practice which is proper to Cyprus, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland – has shaped the geography of heroic viticulture, obviously wider.

For the second time – reminds the Cervim – after the traditional practice of cultivating head-trained bush vines on Pantelleria, recognition is attributed to an agricultural and rural practice. Not to mention that the Sicilian island is one of the key territories for extreme wines of greater quality.

“Dry stone walls are key elements to the landscape of heroic viticulture. And the “non-transferability” of these landscapes, Gaudio further argues, provides them with distinctive cultural features, economic attractiveness as well as touristic appeal. Thanks to the work carried out by the Cervim in recent years, the great value of these regions have now finally been acknowledged. The heroic winemakers have, over the centuries, devoted great efforts and carried out intensive work, sculpting difficult and arduous lands, thus enabling the recognition of these unique landscapes as Heritage of Humanity.”


Other UNESCO cultural landscapes related to heroic viticulture: the Cinque Terre in 1997 and the Wachau Region in Austria in 2000 for their vineyards; the Douro Region in Portugal in 2001, recognised as the first wine region, followed by the island of Pico in the Azores archipelago in 2004, by the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces in Switzerland in 2007, and finally by Langhe, Roero and Monferrato in 2014. During that same year, the practice of head-trained bush vines of Pantelleria was inscribed among the list of UNESCO as the first cultivation practice.