The new status for Champagne and Burgundy regions spurs wine tours which are seen as major draw in France's bid to increase tourist numbers.
Two of France's top wine-producing areas have been officially classified as sites of special cultural or natural significance.
Winemakers in Burgundy and Bordeaux back €1.7m project to see if the unmanned devices can spot early signs of problems in their crops.
They were once proud industrial towns in the centre of France with thriving populations of 10,000 or more. But now areas such as Saint-Florentin, Tonnerre, Flogny-la-Chapelle in north Burgundy have seen their factories close and the number of inhabitants plummet. Instead of secure factory employment, the remaining workers in such towns now face moving from temporary job to temporary job or retraining for low-paid positions in the booming service sector looking after the elderly. Thomas Saint-Cricq reports from Saint-Florentin on the mood of a town that once was so short of industrial workers it had to scour the Mediterranean countries to find them.
Thanks to a dry and warm September France’s wine production could reach 46.5 million hectolitres in 2014, a rise of 10% on last year.
Up to 80% of harvest could be lost in parts of Burgundy after storms brought fierce winds and golf ball-sized hail that shredded vines.
Emmanuel Giboulot handed €500 fine for refusal to spray; his critics claim he put other winegrowers' crops at risk from flavescence dorée disease.
Emmanuel Giboulot is backed by enviromentalists but other winemakers say not tackling harmful vine pest is like 'refusing vaccination'.
Production forecasts lowered after rot due to wet weather causes grape losses, adding to damage from poor flowering and summer hailstorms.