Because one of the key objectives of the Interreg projects is to encourage harmonious regional development and creating environments in which different knowledge and skills are shared, appropriate action plans are developed and different stakeholders are brought together, we have developed the good practice of Virtual Wine Tasting in close cooperation with Divina Wine Hub Šmarje and the Horizon LiveRur project. The event took place on 16th June in several selected locations in Slovenia, France and Spain, where smaller, independent winemakers presented their regions in relation to the current COVID-19 context, as well as the wider economic challenges they face.

The main objective of the event – moderated by associate professor Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, while the sommelier part was provided by Valentin Bufolin, one of the best Slovenian sommeliers – was to present the possibilities of using digital tools , i.e, ZOOM platform and AhaSlides as concrete examples of the interactive approach as a way of creating new business models and partnerships to face post-pandemic challenges. Overall, the use of AhaSlides was very well received, with Vid Stropnik and Sabina Oražem coordinating and moderating the session in collaboration with the rest of the team.

The virtual tasting, which was attended by around 60 participants, featured Michel and Fabien Coulbois from France, Franja Roja, S.L. from Majorca and two Slovenian representatives, Vino Leber from Zg. Kungota and Andrej Krmac from Bertoki, all with their delegations of relevant stakeholders.

In addition to the winemakers, the Zoom tasting was accompanied by the round table session, attended by representatives of AEIDL, the European Association for Information on Local Development, Dolores Ordoñez from TURISTEC Mallorca, who outlined the situation of the Balearic Islands and their cultural and economic specificities, highlighting the importance of digital skills and, on the other hand, the potential of using such tools for the area, especially in relation to tourism. The potential of such technologies for rural areas was also stressed by Andrej Medved from the Divine Wine Hub, which has also started this practice and has organised more than fifty wine tastings of this kind so far.

However, as the organisers wanted to place the presented practice within the broader European context, they also invited Mr. Karl Vanderpoorten, representative of the European Commission, who underscoredd the importance of this type of activities within the context of enhancing digital transformation, especially in regard to rural areas and design of rural digital hubs, as this is the key for bridging the digital divide. The round table was closed by MEP Franc Bogovič, who stressed the need to develop a long-term and, in particular, holistic strategy for rural areas, highlighted the importance of adequate connectivity, digital skills, as well as the importance of sharing knowledge and working with the communities, emphasizing the example of the Smart Villages intitative.

In case you missed the event, we kindly invite you to watch the video:

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