Everledger, the blockchain technology company, announced last week it is the first company to use blockchain to secure the provenance of a bottle of wine.
In a press release, Everledger said the bottle, a 2001 Margaux, was certified and secured on the Chai Wine Vault, which is a joint product rolled out by Everledger and fine wine expert Maureen Downey. The idea is to overhaul how provenance tracking is done in the fine wine industry.
“We hear daily from our industry partners on the threat fraudulent bottles pose to sales, trust and, most importantly, reputation,” said Leoni Runge, Everledger’s head of fine wine, in the press release. “Blockchain enables us to secure the identity of an asset in a way we haven’t been able to before. For the fine wine industry, this means the opportunity to add a layer of transparency to every stage of a bottle’s journey across the supply chain.”
According to Everledger, the Chai Wine Vault issues certification to bottles authenticated through Maureen Downey’s Chai Method (TCM) in which more than 90 data points are collected, in addition to high-resolution photography and records of a bottle’s ownership and storage. Everledger takes all this information and creates a permanent, digital incarnation of the bottle that is written permanently into the blockchain. Everledger said the digital proof stays with the bottle of wine as it trades hands in the supply chain. Ownership and storage records are updated as the bottles change hands, Everledger said. Licensed retailers, warehouses, auction houses and other sale platforms can link to the bottle’s digital identity to verify provenance, resulting in an increase of value for the bottle.
“Global trade fraud costs billions of dollars each year in lost revenue due to malicious activity or human record-keeping errors,” said Donna Dillenberger, IBM fellow, in the press release. “Our work with blockchain shows the potential to dramatically reduce these losses by ingraining transparency and security in the system from the ground up. Working with Everledger in tracing the provenance of diamonds, and now wine, shows how the application of this technology can fundamentally change the way consumer goods are exchanged.”