New tracking and blockchain technologies for wine authentication

A new technology, developed in Australia has the potential to defend the wine export industry against the booming global trade in counterfeit wines, according to a recent report in PKN. The eBottli suite of tracking and blockchain data technologies includes geolocating services for bottles or containers and identifier labels for winemakers, helping to guarantee a wine’s authenticity.

Founded by French-born, but now Adelaide-based, Nathalie Taquet, eBottli is now working with 12 clients across her adopted country, including vineyards in the McLaren Vale region and Barossa Valley, South Australia.

Taquet said premium artisan wine labels are particularly vulnerable to export fraud. “It’s quite unbelievable the extent that wine counterfeiters will go to. Some will simply replace valuable wine with cheap substitutes in the original bottle, with fake labels. They also add juice, and spices for added flavour. Other dodgy bottles contain no grapes at all, and even have harmful substances – such as lead acetate, which is a sweetener,” she explained.

The new system was developed with the backing of the South Australian government. Australian wine exports to China alone are worth around $1.25 billion but the counterfeit market is even bigger, according to Taquet. Research has estimated potential losses to the global industry due to counterfeits will reach $4.3 trillion by 2022. In China alone it is believed around 50% of wine over $35 is fake, and up to 70% of bottles sold are fraudulent.

When Taquet arrived from France two years ago she set up a B2C online wine club called Bottli, specialising in premium and luxury French and Australian wines. Her family owns a winery in the Burgundy region of France. “Bottli also offers wine concierge and sommelier services and we are able to track and source extremely rare and valuable bottles of wine globally on request,” she said.

“The eBottli technology allows wine drinkers to connect with the vineyard. Our ultimate plan is to have wine bottles arrive to the customer overseas, and then they can use their smartphones to scan the label and read its Australian story of origin, ”according to Taquet.

“There are a number of anti-counterfeit technologies available to the Australian wine industry, but eBottli is the most comprehensive: it uses multiple tracking and geolocating technologies, is ready to use, has its own secure app, and is reliable and low-cost compared to others," she claims.

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