Vinitaly International Puts Wine Sector Innovation Into the Hands of Young Hackers

This Saturday and Sunday, March 1st and 2nd, on a rural campus outside of Treviso in Italy’s northeastern Veneto region, Vinitaly International, the worldwide ambassador of Italian wine, put the challenge of innovation in the wine sector into the most capable and appropriate hands: young people, the demographic it most urgently needs to conquer.

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The experience of H-ack Wine was simply fantastic, permeated with an incredibly contagious positive energy.

Treviso, Italy (PRWEB) March 06, 2014

This Saturday and Sunday, March 1st and 2nd, on a rural campus outside of Treviso in Italy’s northeastern Veneto region, Vinitaly International, the worldwide ambassador of Italian wine, put the challenge of innovation in the wine sector into the most capable and appropriate hands: young people, the demographic it most urgently needs to conquer.

H-ack Wine, the first ever hackathon for the wine sector, was conceived as a joint venture between Vinitaly International and H-FARM, a digital platform and incubator for Italian tech companies. Representatives of three wine sector companies –Vinitaly International, Allegrini Estates, and Cantine Ferrari - announced the parameters of their business challenges to over three hundred young developers, designers, and digital creatives from across Italy, who then divided into thirty teams and labored nonstop for 24 hours to design the most innovative digital solutions.

In concentrating on the young Italian market, Vinitaly International deviated from its familiar target, as Managing Director Stevie Kim explains: “Vinitaly International usually focuses on the promotion of Italian wine abroad. Paradoxically, during H-ack Wine, the challenge put before the young people was completely dedicated to the Italian market, in light of the alarming decrease in wine consumption in Italy, especially among the new generation. The challenge was to find a tool that would help give wine and the consumption of wine an image that is young, modern, trendy and sexy, to combat the tendency among young people to consider wine something old or outdated, leading them to choose drinks that are more modern or convivial, such as artisanal beer or cocktails.”

Given Vinitaly International’s goal of rejuvenating the image of Italian wine, the collaboration with H-FARM was natural. “H-ack Wine, like our other initiatives, was born with the aim of bringing young people closer to the real needs of business,” says founder Riccardo Donadon, “so that we don’t continue to see proposals that could’ve come from California or any other place in the world, but rather are focused on the problems and needs specific to the Italian market. Our fundamental purpose is to tie the initiative, energy, and drive for innovation that these young people have with the best of what Italy has to offer – and certainly one of the things for which we are known internationally is food and wine. The goal is to put the needs of these companies in front of a few hundred young people and create an atmosphere in which they can bring new ideas and energy to these business models, and help affirm the position of these brands in the market.”

The other participating companies agreed with the importance of soliciting solutions from young people. “We decided to participate in H-ack wine because we see that within the world of communication there are new sectors to explore, most of all on the web,” explains Marilisa Allegrini. “We trust professionals but we also trust young people, who have great ideas that can help us avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past. We see that there are many brilliant ideas to put into practice that will allow us to develop the business side of wine, as well as of food and tourism, in an effective and organic way – connected especially to the sector of social media, which allows us to respect our established clients but also attract new young consumers.”

“We decided to make the parameters of our challenge really broad, in order to give the most creative space to the hackers who will choose to work on the Ferrari challenge today,” announced Camilla Lunelli of Ferrari. “But in particular we’re looking for a way to translate into a digital platform the experience of Ferrari as the ambassador of the art of Italian living – most of all in foreign markets, which are our strategic priority.”

In terms of numbers of participants as well as quality of results, both partners in the venture consider its first edition a resounding success. “We are very pleased with how H-ack wine went,” says H-FARM Event Manager Alessandro D’Annibale. “Wine is one of the investment sectors of H-FARM for 2014, and it was very satisfying to see more than 300 young people participate in this challenge – about 50 more than were present at our event for the banking sector, which is impressive considering that the economy is undoubtedly a very important theme for these young software developers.”

“The experience of H-ack Wine was simply fantastic, permeated with an incredibly contagious positive energy," Stevie Kim agrees – making it all the more difficult for the three participating companies to choose the winners.

“Ten groups responded to our challenge; most presented a digital solution, such as a mobile or web app,” Kim explains. “One of the apps proposed was aimed at simplifying for young people the process of choosing wine, through a game of association between the different types of wine available, and the mood, company, or food. Another aspired to stimulate the occasion of wine consumption through the creation of a real Vinitaly ‘lovers club.’ Almost all of these ideas were excellent; it’s incredible how in only 24 hours these young people succeeded not only in creating a concept but also in designing real mock-up apps, videos, and advertisements. Each group had only three minutes to present their project, and for us it was very difficult to choose a winner in just five minutes. In the end Vinitaly International chose an app that makes it possible to take a picture that is associated with a given situation using geolocation.”

That winning group, “WineIn,” explains the concept behind their project, called Hick Me: “It’s a social photo app with the objective of creating connections in the world of wine that are emotional rather than conventional. The idea is to attract young people to wine by allowing them to explore it in a simple and engaging way, tying the consumption and knowledge of wine not to the wine itself but to the context, emotions, and moments, captured through photos.”

The winning teams chosen by each of the three presenting companies were rewarded with a week in Bordeaux at 33 Entrepreneurs, an incubator for the enogastronomic tourism industry. But given the positive response and clear business potential, future editions of H-WINE already seem likely. “Everyone asked me if it will be possible to repeat this experience,” says Stevie Kim. “And my answer was a decisive ‘yes.’”

About:
Veronafiere is the leading organizer of trade shows in Italy including Vinitaly (http://www.vinitaly.com), the largest wine event in the world. The 47th edition of Vinitaly counted some 148,000 visitors (+6%), of which 53.000 were international attendees (+10%) visiting from 120 countries. On 95.000 square meters, 4.200 exhibitors welcomed trade professionals, media and producers alike. The next installment of the fair will take place on 6th- 9th April 2014. The premier event to Vinitaly, OperaWine (http://www.vinitalyinternational.com) “Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers”, will unite international wine professionals on April 5th 2014 in the heart of Verona. Veronafiere also created Vinitaly International in 1998 to develop a global platform for the promotion of companies in the Italian wine and food sectors.
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