Women entrepreneurs in the wine industry: developing the training of InnovAgroWoMed

Monday 21 December 2020

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The main objective of the project InnovAgroWoMed is to promote women’s employment in the agri-food sector.

With this aim, in the second half of 2021, a training will be launched for 35 Sicilian women that aspire to run a business in the agri-food sector or to work as employee.

Which are the fundamental competences to work in the agri-food sector and which is the outlook in terms of growth? In the last months, various interviews have been carried out with relevant stakeholders and numerous inspiring contributions have been collected.

Today, here an extract of an exciting conversation with Ms. Roberta Urso – national association “Le Donne del Vino” – delegate for the Region of Sicily.

In your opinion, which are the key competences that a willing-to be women entrepreneur should have?

The capacity to work together as a team is of crucial importance. I am working for a well-structured winery (editor’s note Cantine Settesoli) that promotes the team work with local territory since its foundation. We are a community and our main goal is to produce ‘quality’. To do that, it is fundamental to respect the biodiversity. Even if we are very-well-structured cooperative, being a community is still our main featuring aspect. It means that the difference is made by the people: we are a big team with well-defined roles.

Which are the trends of growth for the wine sector in Sicily?

The wine tourism will be one of the levers of the regional economy. In Sicily, we have a unique biodiversity. To encourage forms of hospitality closely linked to the local territory, promoting networks with other local producers (cheese factories, bread-makers, oil mills, etc.) is a key step. Today, experiential tourism has a growing role and attractiveness.

In Sicily, as association “Le donne del vino”, we would like start from the valorisation of villages and to promote networks among handcrafters, small producers and all the stakeholders that work to safeguard the biodiversity in these rural areas.

Nowadays, we have all the skills and professionals to strenght the wine tourism.

What does innovation mean in the wine industry?

First of all, let’s say that it is crucial to invest in innovation and research in cooperation with the universities and research centres.

Three are the innovation dimensions in the sector:

  • Innovation in the vineyard, which interests the production techniques
  • Innovation in the wine cellar – it is important to have the needed equipment to produce quality
  • Innovation in communication and distribution – even an excellent wine will be unsold without effective and updated communication strategies.

The creation of an attractive e-commerce under the communication point of view is relevant more than ever. As we all know, the pandemic has enormously increased the use e-commerce. This aspect is a point of no return. Especially for small producers and new companies this is the aspect on which invest, definitively.

We must be able to answer to the famous “WHY ME”?

Why a consumer should choose my product?

We should create curiosity and guide the consumer to purchase our products.

Let’s talk about the project FUTURE promoted by the association “Le donne del vino”

The project includes different educational opportunities that aim to promote an increased awareness about the interdisciplinary competences requested in the wine sector such as: English, marketing, digital communication, incoming techniques for the wine sector, oenology and hospitality.

Why the need of this project?

It is an objective of the association with the aim to strengthen the presence of the women within the wine production chain. In 1988, when the association was created, there were only 10 members and they were producers by birth. Today, the association has 900 members at national level with different roles and responsibilities in the various companies: there are managers, winemakers, wine journalists, advisors and other transversal professional profiles that contribute to the promotion of our territories and of the Italian wine in the world.

We would like to see a stronger and much more leading women’s presence in the promotion of the Italian wine in the world. The project “FUTURE” is one of the tools with whom we would like to train the new generations, transferring them competences and enthusiasm.

We would like to thank you Roberta Urso for this extremely interesting conversation that has offered to us a lot of contributions to design the training path of InnovAgroWoMed.

We ended the interview with an appointment for the future: maybe we will meet a “Donna del Vino” during the training of InnovAgroWomed? We will see but, in the meantime, we would greet with their motto:

“Roots driven in the territory and look into the future”!


For further information about the project, please send an email to: international@cesie.org

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