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Posted by Stephen Meuse December 2, 2011 10:48 AM
Cite your fascination with wine maps as I did here a few days ago (In love with wine maps?) and fellow enthusiasts make their presence known.
I had no sooner asked, more or less rhetorically, why someone hadn't harnessed the powerful features of Google Earth to provide an interactive 3D experience of the world's vineyards than Kent Benson a wine educator in St Cloud, Minnesota pointed me to Bourgogne Panorama. The site is the work of Laurent Corneillat who identifies himself only as a Burgundy-based sommelier.
Corneillat's efforts are focused on Burgundy's Cote d'Or, the fabled east-facing limestone escarpment running in a rough south to north line between Chagny and Dijon. The slope extends from the roadside of RN74 up to about 1100 feet or elevation. The most prized vineyards are situated mid-slope.
At Bourgogne Panorama you can view a simple interactive map that provides the kind of views I noted in my previous post. You can switch between map, satellite, and terrain views and mousing over the highlighted areas brings up some information about the individual plots. Of course you can also zoom in and out and pan in any direction.
All this is very nice, but it doesn't really leverage the powers of Google Earth. For that you need to download the free Google program and then open the KML file (look in the right sidebar on his homepage) Corneillat has created to run inside Earth. Now you see something very different.Areas on the map are now flagged with icons in the form of a human eye (click on the image for an enlarged view).
Clicking on each eye brings up a small window with a photo. Click on the photo and it grows into a panoramic ground-level image that sweeps the horizon to give a 360 degree view of the area; alternatively, it may pop open a slide show. Below is an example. You have to imagine the photo in motion gradually bringing the full vista into view.
It's pretty sweet - and no doubt quite a lot of work for the author (merci mille fois, M. Corneillat!) To cover all the vineyards of the world this way would take an enormous cooperative effort. If you know of others who have created Google Earth files designed to help us become better acquainted with wine growing regions, please send them our way.