Saturnalia, “figli delle stelle”

Italy, a country whose past is deep-rooted within the stars

We took the freedom to borrow the title of an Italian song (which can be translated to “children of the stars”), whose notes have been resonating in our country since the 70s, to help you discover more about us.

When the song was first published in 1977, many members of the Ticinum Aerospace team were not even born. Our scientific director Fabio at the time was a kid running around in his shorts, amazed by the stars in the sky and not knowing that they would soon become the academic focus of his whole life. It had been only two years since the European Space Agency (ESA) was founded, in 1975.

In those years Italy, thanks to great expertise and world-class companies, became a pioneer in aerospace engineering, shaping the future of remote sensing as we know it today. It was in 1977 that the mission Sirio-1 was accomplished: the satellite Sirio-1 was launched into orbit, paving the way for the development of new knowledge and techniques that are now essential in our lives.

Saturnalia origins and the support from the European Space Agency 

Today we at Saturnalia consider ourselves children of those same stars that long before us lit the way for others. Just as it happened to the Little Prince of the Saint-Exupéry’s novella, thanks to satellites we were brought on a star, from which today we can observe the Earth and one of its most precious fruits: the grape and its wine. Since 2017 our small but dynamic team of electrical engineers, IT developers, AI enthusiasts and remote sensing experts – it goes without saying, all in love with good wine – have been working hard, pouring all of their knowledge, experience and intuitions into the fine wine world. 

Everything started in 2016 when Daniele De Vecchi – today project manager of Saturnalia – won with his team the Space Camp App organised by the ESA. The winning intuition involved an innovative way to define the quality of a wine: collect and elaborate objective and science-driven data about grape quality thanks to the information available through satellites. In 2017, Ticinum Aerospace, spin-off of the University of Pavia, took on the Saturnalia project and started to leverage the satellite information available as open-data. The work started immediately to attract attention and in 2018 it received support from both the Copernicus Incubation Programme and from the Kick-start Activity promoted by ESA. 

A unique, data-driven platform dedicated to the fine wines world 

In 2020 the team developed three proprietary indexes to evaluate the quality of grapes. In addition, by cross-referencing ground and satellite data, Saturnalia elaborated a score of each vintage for both the area and single parcels. At the end of 2020, all these efforts were condensated into a digital platform dedicated to the world of fine wines, with a special focus on the Bordeaux area. 

From this first accomplishment capable of supplying objective data on grape quality, the platform further developed thanks to the partnership with Liv-ex and the addition of the Monthly Price Trend for the Top100 wines of Bordeaux. As the team gathered more and more expertise in the field, the platform kept evolving to help collectors, merchants and sommeliers understand every detail of the wine regions and see for themselves the position of Châteaux, Clos and Crus: this is how the service 3D Wine Explorer was born.

Our Wine Explorer is a dynamic and immersive 3D atlas of the most renowned fine wine regions of the world: just to name a few, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolo, Bolgheri, Champagne, Rhones. You can have a look at them, together with many other fine wine regions, thanks to our free trial that also unlocks all of our services for you. 

If you’d like to discover more about us, what we do and why we do it, and which solutions we offer to professionals and collectors alike, subscribe to our newsletter to always stay up-to-date on everything related to Saturnalia.


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Saturnalia, “figli delle stelle”