Barcode and Blockchain in Wine Industry

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Be it Wine Counterfeiting or tracking wine source, Barcode and Blockchain Technology offers a smart solution.


The Wine Collector and Buyers are facing a huge problem in terms of an increase in wine counterfeiting, adulteration, and use of excessive preservatives and hazardous chemicals. There is a rapid increase in wine counterfeiting since the early 1990s.  Fraudsters tend to counterfeit and re-label cheap wines to rare and collectable wines. They then sell it in various auctions by forging a story. Wine Collectors have no choice but to believe the auctioneer`s story of wine. Wine having vintage and story backing can fetch up to millions of dollars at the auctions. Collectors shed their hard-earned money on rare and vintage wines. What if, the million-dollar billed vintage rare wine to turn out to be normal wine with a tampered sticker. You end up paying a lot more money than the actual worth of wine.

How can we overcome wine counterfeiting?

To overcome the issue of wine counterfeiting, the wine industry is in need of a supply chain traceability system. This supply chain traceability system will allow wine buyers to understand the very true story of wine. Today, Wine Counterfeit and fraud are detected using RFID and web-based systems which has the possibility of stored information getting tampered as required. Needless to say, tampering of data online is very mediocre and common these days.

What if, the data in the system gets tampered?

Blockchain can resolve the issue of data tampering and ensure credibility and transparency of the wine supply chain traceability system. Every entity, that is associated with production to the selling of wine are recorded as a block in the chain and are made visible to all relevant participants. If any entity in the chain even tries to tamper the chain, all the interconnected members would know the tamper. Thanks to the universal ledger system that is synchronized with each entity of the blockchain. For every block of data added, it is verified by other entities and synchronized in their ledger. The transparency in the validation of the block data makes the system credible. Any change in the ledger gets approved only if the highest number of participating entities validate the transaction.

Thus, letting buyers and collectors understand the very story of the wine. They can get information related to grape, grape producer, vineyard, winery, cellar, packer/filler, wholesalers, distributors and even retail store.

And how do we tag all those entities?

The answer to this lies in the age-old technology of barcodes. You can even use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Quick Response (QR) Code, Electronic Product Code (EPC) etc. technologies to tag the wine. Giving a unique identification to grapes help identify the exact source. The Barcode associated with the batch of grapes produced in a particular vineyard is given a secret barcode and then uploaded to the Blockchain`s Universal Ledger. Any further process on the grapes is then recorded and stored in a block.

How will this work then?

Blockchain in Wine Industry

Once a grape is tagged with a barcode, we will have an idea of the source of the grape. Grape is then sent to a particular wine producer. This information then added to the ledger as a new block in the chain. Thus, authenticating wine producer and grape used for making the wine. Once the wine producer receives the grape, he sends it to the bulk producer for wine production. After bulk wine is produced, it is sent to transit cellars for further process. From Transit cellars, wine is sent to filling and packing centre for packaging. Once the wine is packaged, Wine Distributor is given the task of distributing wine to retailer/wholesalers/importers. All the action performed are stored as a block of information in the chain.

Thus, when a buyer buys a fresh bottle of vintage wine, he just has to scan the barcode of the bottle and the whole story from its production to its packaging and to the retailer everything can be known. Thus, revolutionizing the entire wine industry and preventing wine counterfeiting. EZLab and VinX are one of few Tech Startups, working in this sector or technology.

References –

  1. Research Paper by Kamanashis Biswas, Vallipuram Muthukkumarasamy, Wee Lum Tan
  2. Wine Fraud by Wikipedia
  3. EZlab

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