(AGI) Rome, Mar 16 - Italy is keen to play a leadership role by harnessing cutting edge innovations, such as the internet, in the service of its traditional wine production. "Our 50-year history, to be celebrated at Vinitaly, is testament to the success of our ability to be reborn and start again", Minister Maurizio Martina told a press conference for the 50th edition of Vinitaly, in Verona from Apr. 10 to 13. "Thirty years ago, after methanol, our wine seemed to be up a blind alley. Now we are celebrating record global exports worth 5.4 billion euros and in the last 10 years we have halved the gap between French exports and our own. The way to go is e-commerce, an internet presence and a boundless use of channels such as social media. This is why we decided to give our producers an opportunity to take on the leading international operators with an internet presence. Over the next 50 years, our wine marketing will harness these channels; we not only need to learn how best to utilise them, but how to make them into competitive tools." Mr Martina went on to say that this was a frontier "that we want to make the most of from a ministry point of view too, and one that sees us engaged in the valorisation of quality products on platforms such as Google, and in the fight against agropiracy along with eBay and Alibaba. We are the only institution in the world that grants regional brands the same protection against forgery as commercial brands. This is an issue that we have been flagging up to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for decades without success, but which we managed to resolve in just a year on the internet, focusing on two key concepts for web sales: quality and reputation. Italy has a great deal to teach on this front. Lastly, Vinitaly this year will be not only a great digital platform but also a diplomatic one. The Ministers for Agriculture in the Mediterranean countries have been invited to take part in the first International European Wine Forum." The activities promoted and organised by the Ministry of Alimentary, Agricultural and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF) were illustrated as part of the event, and are devoted this year to the subject "World Wine Web". There will be a series of 10 meetings between leading internet players such as Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, Amazon and Google, geared to providing companies in the relevant sectors the tools with which to tackle the new challenges of the online market. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will attend on Apr. 11 for a discussion on the future of wine with Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Vinitaly 2016 will also provide an opportunity to bolster diplomatic ties between different countries, including the International European Wine Forum on Apr. 13. (AGI). .