Today, the market of fine wine provides a source of valuable assets for many investors. However, it is still a hazardous business to operate in, as it lacks guarantees for future profit and key information on wine quality.
Thanks to the data gathered from satellites and weather stations, Saturnalia provides investors and growers with exclusive data capable of improving their businesses. In particular, Saturnalia aims to:
- Help investors by providing most likely trends for future wine prices and an overall assessment of wine quality;
- Encourage growers’ transparency towards their clients, as they are offered clear and explicit data on the purchased wine;
- Build an algorithm capable of computing an early score for wine quality, which largely matches the evaluations of experts who actually taste the wine;
- Optimise the overall production for vine-growers, leveraging satellites and weather station data to constantly monitor vineyards health and detect parasites or other diseases;
- Design and distribute a new generation of weather stations, whose improved technology can help vine growers in taking mindful decisions for their vineyards benefit;
- Offer a unique website platform on which everyone, from wine experts to amateurs, can share, discuss and receive in-depth analyses about wine and vineyards.
Users and their needs
Since Saturnalia exploits satellite images and remote sensing techniques, the project can potentially address users and vineyards scattered all over the world. Saturnalia is addressed to:
- Vine growers: Vine growers not only need to keep an attentive eye on their vineyards conditions, but they also strive to promote their vintages in a positive and solid way. Saturnalia meets both these needs, thanks to the early scores and the continuous satellite mapping of the vineyards, which provide growers with a reliable and transparent marketing tool and which allow them to be informed and act in advance to anticipate any complications;
- Wine investors: Due to the lack of complete data and reliable predictions on wine quality, investors face many uncertainties when putting money into the fine wine market. Saturnalia publications, which contain both monthly trends of wine prices and assessments of the quality of the recent vintages, help them in deciding on which appellation to invest;
- Wine experts: Saturnalia offers a platform where experts of the sector share data about wine and vineyards.
Service/ system concept
Different target users identified for Saturnalia can take advantage of:
- Saturnalia Vigour Maps, produced for every vintage, describing the distribution of vine vigour among parcels. These are designed to be easy to integrate into existing customers’ websites;
- Early scores, computed soon after the harvest and made available before critics can actually taste the wine;
- Harvest reports compiled on the main wine production areas and based on factual data;
- Monthly prediction of prices based on Saturnalia scores and on market prices by Liv-Ex
- Time-lapse video for the last vintage based on satellite data;
- Weather station data.
The system automatically ingests data coming from satellites and from ground-based sensors, combines them and computes the performance score after the harvest. Intermediate products are accessible to growers for the assessment of potential diseases.
Space Added Value
The refresh frequency of spaceborne data plays a crucial role in helping determine precise phenological phase transitions, which (in return) allows the model to operate correctly on other inputs. Specifically, we are building our system upon HLS data (https://hls.gsfc.nasa.gov/), a transformed product processed by NASA based on Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 data; the aim is to seamlessly combine them and also to further increase the temporal revisit. Moreover, we also include in the processing chain data like the Land Surface Temperature and Soil Moisture, available via Copernicus Land Service.
Plans for Saturnalia are to cover global wine production, which also means covering the global grape production. From ground alone, it would be practically impossible to monitor vast vineyards scattered across the globe. Constant revisits of satellites are fundamental to track the evolution of vineyards in time. Moreover, the satellite perspective enables to understand the spatial distribution of values.
Image credit : Ticinum Aerospace srl
The system is currently operational(https://saturnalia.tech/), although the number of areas covered is still limited, and the model is being tuned as new data and scores come in, including from past vintages. The cancellation of the En Primeur event due to Covid-19 placed Saturnalia in the spotlight as it is the only provider of quality data on the Bordeaux 2019 vintage. Saturnalia was presented in a webinar organized by “The Real Business of Wine” on the Bordeaux En Primeur 2019 (https://youtu.be/VoMFy-Qk4HE?t=1) along with other experts of the wine industry. The team is working shoulder-to-shoulder with producers in the Oltrepò hills thanks to the partnership with Terre d’Oltrepò, a local Italian consortium of vine-growers and vinemakers.