A Shanghai company is using one of the fastest growing technologies to let you know where your bottle of wine came from.
VeChain, a Shanghai-based start-up, is applying blockchain to trace wine in the city so consumers can find out how it got from grape to glass.
“The beauty of blockchain is that shoppers can see information about the whole life cycle of a bottle of wine from various sides, including vineyards, logistics and retailers,” Fu Yu, a partner at VeChain, said to the South China Morning Post.
Blockchain is a technological stamp with a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and encrypted. Each new block contains data from the previous block, so you can follow the trail back to where it started. It’s the same technology the crypto-currency Bitcoin runs on.
While big wineries and spirit brands have already implemented anti-counterfeiting measures such as laser etching of trademarks on bottles and bar codes to identify their origins, blockchain is thought to be more secure.
Consumers can access the information by scanning a quick response (QR) code, for example, to find out the grape variety, information about the winery, when the wine was shipped and imported into Shanghai, the 18-digit Chinese customs declaration number, and the date it arrived on the store shelf.
To explore the possibility, VeChain has teamed up with French producer Pierre Ferraud and Fils to get its 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau red wine blockchain certified. About 10,000 bottles have been fitted with the technology, which you can trace from its time on the vine to when it got to Shanghai Waigaoqiao Direct Imported Goods (DIG) retail store.
For more premium wines, the company plans to install a near field communications (NFC) chip near the cork or screw cap. Once the bottle is opened, the chain is broken and users can no longer read or write data, alerting consumers about refills.
According to market research firm Mintel Group, where the wine came from is the most important information to Chinese consumers. And France is their preferred destination of origin, regardless if its red, wine, rosé, or sparkling wine.
Shanghai is presently the mainland’s second-largest market for imported wine after Guangdong province. Last year, mainland China imported about ¥17.9 billion worth of wines in total, or 746 million litres. The country is predicted to become the world’s second largest wine market, after the US, by 2020.
Second photo via China Daily.