Saturnalia: Good wine, as seen from space!

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Start-up of the Month: Ticinum Aerospace

May 2018


Saturnalia is a service for quality forecasting for fine wine through intensive monitoring of vineyards from space and on the ground. Its big advantage over existing quality assessment techniques consists of forecasting wine quality before the publication of price-driving, official reviews. An innovative approach to analysing vine growth conditions unlocks the use of vast quantities of Copernicus data in addition to ground measurements to predict wine quality before it is actually bottled and put on sale.

Preview of the Saturnalia interface

Data collected for vineyards, and their derivatives, can also benefit other players in the wine industry, such as growers (to optimise treatments), sommeliers and wine experts (privileged access to seasonal insights), and insurance companies (up-to-date commercial value of crops at stake). The Saturnalia system hinges on a geospatial platform that collects and processes data from two main sources: satellite Earth observation (EO) data and in-situ data from custom-designed, patent-based weather stations. Saturnalia initially emerged as the winning idea of the 2016 Space App Camp by ESA, and reached the final round at the 2017 Space App Camp by ESA and SAP in Barcelona, with a demonstrator exhibited at the co-located World Mobile Congress 2017. In 2017, the team also won the CGI Big Data, Big Business Challenge of the Copernicus Masters with its project and earned professional mentoring to further boost its business idea.


Daniele De Vecchi from Ticinum Aerospace receiving the Copernicus Masters 2018 Award in Tallinn, Estonia


The company behind Saturnalia: Ticinum Aerospace 

Saturnalia is a project by Ticinum Aerospace s.r.l. (TA), a spin-off company from the University of Pavia, Italy, specialising in space-borne EO data processing and analysis. It has experience in diverse applications including satellite-based crop mapping and urban risk exposure assessments using a mix of space-borne sensor data and street-level images. TA is currently working to further expand the reach of the system under an ESA contract awarded in the framework of the Kick-Start Activities call for feasibility studies on innovative applications in food security.

“There are countless services aimed at enhancing farmers’ productivity through decision support systems, and the wine industry itself is now crowded with technologies that extend from the field to the table.
However, there is a segment in the wine value chain that is always neglected, although it plays a key role in the global wine trade: importers.

Saturnalia is unique in providing these users with predictions on the quality of wine, which will have a substantial impact on how wine is traded between countries. I am happy to support Fabio and Daniele in this endeavour, and I am sure the next time I drink a bottle of wine, I’ll think about how Saturnalia has brought it here!”

Paolo de Stefanis
Innovation & Founder & Innovation Manager at Day One