Hot Travel Destinations – Cognac
In an effort to feed your need for all things food and wine, Tidings has found the next tasty travel destination for you. Cognac has been awarded certification as an official area of interest in France’s first Vignobles et Découvertes designations. The designations were announced in Paris by the French Secretary of State for Tourism, Herve Novelli, and Paul Dubrule, President of the Council for Wine Tourism (Conseil Supérieur de l’Oenotourisme).
French winegrowing regions attract some 7.5 million visitors each year, one-third of which are foreign visitors. The new Vignobles et Découvertes designations, created by the Council for Wine Tourism, are designed to raise the profile of accredited regions and to help further develop their potential.
Regions are all chosen because of the interest they represent for visitors, as well as for the facilities they offer in terms of accommodation, restaurants, activities (such as visiting cellars), places of interest, events and outstanding beauty, plus ease of access. The Cognac designation covers a 50km radius around the city of Cognac.
Cognac’s heavyweight bid to become a Vignobles et Découvertes designation (the materials for the bid literally tipped the scales at a massive 9.5kg) was the result of months of work by members of the Experience Cognac team from the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), along with the Charente and Charente-Maritime Tourist Boards, The Cognac Tourist Office and the Regional Tourist Board for the whole of the Poitou-Charente area.
The strength of the bid was, in part, thanks to the innovative Etapes du Cognac Association, which has brought together key players in viticulture and tourism in the Cognac region for the past ten years. The Association aims to promote tourism within the Cognac appellation. Its 180 members are made up of distillers, winegrowers and museums, as well as owners of restaurants, hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts. Members are only admitted under the Association’s Quality Charter, which, in 2009, set new standards for the reception of visitors at vineyards, Cognac production sites, and other culture sites.
Cognac At A Glance
With 79,739 hectares under vine and 5,230 growers, Cognac is the largest single variety wine-growing region in Europe in terms of surface area, and France’s second largest AOC (Controlled Appellation of Origin), again in terms of surface area. The Appellation was created in 1909, and is divided into six concentric Crus.
Four bottles of Cognac are sold every second in the world, making the current international market for Cognac worth 1.7 billion Euros, for a volume of almost 150 million bottles.