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Allegrini 2018
WINE AND TECHNOLOGY

Brunello’s Ciacci Piccolomini meets Microsoft, and wine tasting becomes digital

Wine tasting stays in the winery, but is shared all over the world. Is this a new era for the wine world’s business relations?

Tradition and innovation is a combination, or rather a mantra, which has resonated for years, in the storytelling of wine. It has often been very meaningful, other times less; in any case, though, these are the reference points that move Italian wineries. Furthermore, technology has been fundamental for the quality growth of entire territories, as it has been put at the service of work in the vineyards and, even more so in the wineries. That is, as long as you do not forget about the know-how built over the centuries, which has made great wines like Brunello di Montalcino. This is precisely where, not surprisingly, innovation becomes technological, making a potentially historical evolutionary leap. This time, it is not at the production level, but at the communicative and business level, an increasingly important frontier in the destiny of the wine world. The outcome of the meeting between Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, one of the reference brands of Brunello di Montalcino, and Microsoft, the giant of technological information, has been that the food and wine experience has been renewed and wine tasting has become virtual and interactive. Microsoft Teams, a collaboration, messaging and video-conferencing platform has been able to set up an authentic “Digital Wine Tasting”; a way to communicate and interact with customers and wine lovers from all over the world, while remaining, instead, right in the winery. It is a small innovation, perhaps, which, however, if applied on a larger scale, could contribute to the competitiveness of the supply chain through easier dialogues and information sharing anywhere and at any time, between colleagues and professionals in the sector, and even in the vineyard, in the winery as well as at food and wine fairs.
To bring together two apparently distant companies like Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona and Microsoft was Si-Net, an IT company that offers integrated systems for businesses and professional firms, with which “We have started an real digital transformation in the company, as Alex Bianchini, at the helm of Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, alongside his father Paolo, explained to WineNews, “and with the help of Teams we are trying to integrate the use of new technologies that will, besides allowing us to work on the move sharing documents and tasks in a dynamic way, also allow us to guide an actual tasting”. The first tasting, which connected one of the Brunello brand’s many tasting rooms of the Microsoft loft in Milan, brought the new vintages of Rosso, Brunello di Montalcino and “365”, created with the collaboration of the Meregalli Group, exclusive distributor for Italy, France and Switzerland of the Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona wines. “A digital wine tasting”, continued Alex Bianchini, “allows you to be connected to any user in Italy, or around the world. Our project is to adopt this type of system to engage customers and suppliers in multiple countries while living the experience of a real tasting. Technology can actually be of great benefit to the wine business, reducing travelling and saving time. The first step is to operate commercially with this new platform”, concluded Alex Bianchini, “but it is an experience we are thinking about being able to share with wine lovers as well”.
What can Teams do for small and medium-sized wine companies? We asked Sofia D’Esposito, head of communication and marketing for Si-Net, and the “Director” of the meeting. “What Teams can do”, explained Sofia D’Esposito to WineNews”, starting from Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, and for any company, is incredible. It is a tool that allows you to share, collaborate and communicate in innovative ways, and most of all, it brings people together wherever they are all over the world. You can organize virtual tastings at a distance and communicate in many different ways, like chats (offering the opportunity to simultaneously translate the contents into more than 40 different languages, ed.), or several people collaborating on documents or projects free of problems or limits. It is a very useful tool, especially for those who are working on the move, as it helps to speed up and simplify one’s tasks”.
“We are proud to collaborate with a Made in Italy excellence such as Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona and to support its growth path thanks to Cloud Computing. This experience demonstrates the value of new technologies to support Italian SMEs. Working with the Teams collaboration platform, we are sure that this new form of digital tasting will give further impetus to the Brunello sector. This is the reason why we have also selected the Tuscan winery as one of the cases of digital transformation to be told in the collection of innovation stories “Ambition Italy for SMEs”, because we believe it can offer interesting training ideas and show other companies in the country the importance of digital technology to support competitiveness. Our partner ecosystem plays a key role in our commitment to guide SMEs towards digital transformation, which boasts a widespread presence in the area and qualified expertise in response to the needs of various vertical sectors. The collaboration between Microsoft and Si-Net is a symbolic example of this vision, thanks to which a simple, but avant-garde project could come to life, and we are certain it will contribute to the competitiveness of the territory”, commented Luba Manolova, Director of the Microsoft 365 Division of Microsoft Italy.

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