Listening to wine producers and their needs for innovation in the vineyard, in the cellar and in marketing; researching the most promising technological solutions with which to respond to practical needs and supporting producers in adopting them effectively in the field. These are the cardinal principles of Terra&Tech, the first national Open Innovation programme aimed at the country's wine sector, which in the coming months will be articulated in a rich series of activities in close contact with the wine production chain to catalyse new fruitful encounters between wine-making tradition and technological innovation.
The initiative is organised and promoted by Filiera Futura, an association that works throughout Italy to innovate and enhance the agri-food sector, whose members include foundations of banking origin, universities and industry bodies, and I3P, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, which supports the birth and development of innovative start-ups with high technological intensity and growth potential, including through Open Innovation projects.
The programme was presented on the morning of November 17th, 2023 in Milan, in the spaces of Cariplo Factory. The first objective of Terra&Tech is to identify the needs in the wine-growing world, confronting directly with the main players in the supply chain. Once the criticalities and concrete needs expressed by the protagonists of the sector have been collected, a tailor-made call for start-ups will be launched, a fundamental initiative to involve innovative entrepreneurial realities capable of implementing solutions suited to the needs that have emerged in the discussion with producers.
Indeed, young companies play an increasingly crucial role at national level, also in relation to the PNRR and EU policies. A traditional and deep-rooted sector such as wine, at least in Italy, can only benefit from the innovation introduced by start-ups and SMEs that develop advanced technological solutions for the competitiveness of the entire sector. It is therefore necessary to promote the modernisation and digitalisation of agriculture, and to support the wine start-ups that are embracing this challenge.
Latest generation technologies, such as IoT - Internet of Things - and big data analysis, enable more efficient vineyard management, reducing environmental impacts; they are also enabling factors in improving product traceability, further strengthening the reputation of Italian wine. The hope of the Terra&Tech programme, therefore, is to initiate new innovation processes to be developed with and on the territories, in order to position and consolidate the value and quality of the Italian wine supply chain at a global level.
During the Terra&Tech presentation meeting held in Milan, several representatives of the wine sector spoke about their professional experience straddling a written past and a future to be imagined, also offering their views on market prospects. Among them were Stefano Calatroni of Azienda Agricola Calatroni, Giuliana Viberti Clerico of Azienda Agricola Domenico Clerico, and Claudio Conterno of Azienda Agricola Conterno Fantino, together with Giovanni Di Mambro, Co-Founder and COO of the start-up Elaisian, which develops innovative services for the digitalisation of farms.
The programme's launch event will then be followed by the start of a cycle of workshops at a national level, with dates in several Italian provinces in the first half of 2024, in order to bring together and involve local players in the wine supply chain in a capillary manner in the main territories.
Francesco Cappello, President of Filiera Futura and Vice-President of Fondazione CRC, said: "The Italian wine sector enjoys a strong reputation for high quality and transversality, with exports maintaining a significant market share and a movement that is increasingly committed to sustainable production in every respect. It is in the interest of Filiera Futura and in the nature of producers to continue to challenge change and uncertainty, in production and consumption, aware of a heritage that represents a solid base to face future scenarios. Technological innovation fits into this context as an opportunity that it is essential to seize, even from a pioneering perspective, in order to consolidate a position of strength at a global level. Terra&Tech represents the ideal link capable of supporting wineries through modern tools that are useful for dealing with old and new requirements."
"For the Incubator of Politecnico di Torino it is a real pleasure to collaborate with Filiera Futura to realise this new project in the field of Open Innovation," commented Giuseppe Scellato, President of I3P. "The role of our incubator is to create a bridge between the world of innovative start-ups and the national wine sector, encouraging the transfer of the most cutting-edge technologies and their concrete experimentation in the field. The ultimate goal of the programme is to ensure greater innovation capacity for the wine sector supply chain and to encourage further development of the wine business, inspired by the principles of environmental, economic and social sustainability."