From the vine to the winemaker, the wine sector in France must now deal with so-called “new world” producers such as Australia, Chile, South Africa or New Zealand, and benefit from conditions of favorable production and a more flexible regulatory framework. If the cellar master still reigns in the cellars, France has everything to gain by betting on the excellence of its productions and its ancestral know-how, an excellence boosted by big data, robotics and now blockchain!
Innovation and blockchain, a real turning point for the wine business?
Viticulture, like all sectors of activity, can benefit from the contributions of technology and digital technology to improve its production conditions, its traceability, and even its products. IoT (Internet of Things) is notably a first fundamental vector for the transformation of businesses, including in the agricultural world and the wine sector. Imagine the possibility of analyzing production histories, precise information on weather, temperature, or soil humidity thanks to sensors placed near the vines. We can also consider using satellite images of vineyard plots, used by Artificial Intelligence solutions to improve wine productivity, limit water consumption or even do predictive analysis to anticipate bad weather. Let’s go further and imagine flawless, tailor-made product traceability, thanks to blockchain technology, but also bottle authentication or even improving the customer experience. Follow us in exploring the opportunities offered by Blockchain in the wine sector.
Four blockchain opportunities not to be missed in the world of wine
The wine sector is, as we have seen, a sector which is buoyant and eager for technological innovations. With more than 32 billion bottles consumed worldwide in 2018, and French wine production of 3.7 billion liters making the country the second largest wine producer in the world (16% of world production), the stakes are high . To meet the new requirements, the blockchain promises interesting opportunities in a rapidly growing sector.
Let’s take a closer look:
- Authentication of a bottle : counterfeiting is expensive in the wine sector, however, at least 20% of the wine sold in the world would be counterfeit. The blockchain offers a major response to this major threat: by allowing unalterable and decentralized traceability of all stages of the production and distribution process of a wine, but also by allowing to authenticate and certify a bottle has posteriori. In 2016, the authentication of a bottle of wine was certified for the first time on a blockchain, thanks to The Chai Method ® developed by fraud specialist Maureen Downey and the technology company Everledger. Chain Wine Vault thus collects and encrypts 90 types of bottle-related data in the blockchain, ranging from high-resolution photos to the history of wine owners and their storage conditions. This virtual safe is thus updated at each event in the life of a bottle and the URL to the authenticated chain is exposed at the same time as the bottle during a sale, for example.
- Traceability throughout the production chain : this reassures the consumer about the provenance of the wine and guarantees its authenticity. The Oversea Liquor tracking platform, developed by VeChain, uses a blockchain to authenticate bottles of wine. The concept is simple, the consumer accesses the data produced by the blockchain by scanning the QR Code or the NFC chip of each bottle with the VeChain app. This chip is also sealed to the cap to prevent an open bottle from being refilled and returned to the distribution channel.
- Improving the customer experience : by tracing the life cycle of a wine and making it easily accessible, the blockchain promises an enhanced customer experience that is traditionally summed up in a few lines on the back of a bottle. The experience offered by MyStory ™, developed by the company DNV GL offers, from a simple scan of the code placed on the bottle, to provide information on the different characteristics of the wine, its production process, its conditions conservation in order to offer the consumer an informed purchase. The blockchain also allows information to remain unalterable and accessible at all times.
- Customer loyalty : the facts are clear today, despite more than 32 billion bottles of wine sold per year worldwide, the vast majority of vineyards do not control their distribution chain and do not know their customers. It is to remedy this that VinX offers a blockchain platform allowing vineyards to market their wines directly by issuing futures contracts. With this process, the bottles sold are thus materialized in the form of tokens which can be exchanged until the actual availability of the wine.
As we have seen, there are many use cases to implement blockchain technology in the wine sector, not to mention the improvement of the vineyard financing model which can also be redesigned thanks to the authenticity guaranteed by the blockchain .
A new perspective on newcomers to the wine industry
At a time when many players in large-scale distribution are developing and enriching the tools for tracing products on the production chain, the surf wine sector, too, on the wave of technological innovations to offer customers, consumers and suppliers benefit from a high level of authentication and traceability offered by the blockchain. Let’s see from the start-up side what’s going on.
- WineDex, the application launched by IdealWine, the leading wine auction house in France, is based on a blockchain built from the Ethereum network and relies on RFID technology, radio tags enabling data backup and recovery remotely. But the application does not stop there, it also acts as a register on the secondary market, allowing users to follow the transfer of ownership directly via the platform, following an OTC sale for example. Cyrille Jomand, CEO of IdealWine, even imagines a last step in the application in the longer term towards the tokenization of wine. A DEX (Decentralized exchange) would allow stakeholders to exchange their bottles of wine directly, like a trading platform.
- EzLab, an Italian start-up, is integrating the blockchain to monitor and guarantee the traceability of the entire production chain in a certified and transparent manner, based on the VeChain model mentioned above.
- Vinsent, provides easy access to secure early product sales thanks to the undeniable advantages of the blockchain, by allowing the contract to be monitored and ensuring the authenticity of the bottles. “Thanks to our app, the vineyard can start selling wines at term from the harvest by generating cash and strengthening its community.”Indicates its founder.
- O’Wine offers him to fight against counterfeiting problems by developing an original laser engraving solution with an entry for the purchase in the blockchain. The entire history of the bottle is thus included in the blockchain.
So, are you ready to blockchainize your cannon to save winegrowers?
An article co-authored with Karen Jouve, digital transformation consultant at Wavestone.
Guillaume has been passionate about Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies for 2 years now. He firmly believes in the massive adoption of these in the years to come. Eager for crisp news and always on the lookout for the latest trends in the cryptocurrency market, he enjoys sharing with you all their secrets!