The VeChain-powered wine traceability platform now oversees more than 20 wines in Shanghai’s Pilot Free Trade Zone, according to a company statement on Tuesday.
Launched in 2018, the Shanghai Wine and Liquor Blockchain Alliance has sought to improve the logistics and quality standards for the growing industry, as middle-class Chinese consumers develop a taste for the supple intoxicant. However, as consumption grows, so does counterfeiting. In a 5 month stint, Chinese authorities reportedly seized nearly 65,000 counterfeit Penfolds bottles, worth upwards of $4 million.
As a means of combating the illicit Chinese wine trade, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Direct Imported Goods Co (D.I.G.), a major importer in the region, partnered with the public blockchain project VeChainThor to develop an authenticating system for luxury wines. The latest wine registered is the Australian cabernet sauvignon Penfolds Bin 407, which retails at around $60 according to Vivino.
The blockchain-strapped bottles are equipped with a near-field communication (NFC) chip to track the vintage’s provenance. Additionally, the wine traceability platform is overseen by two governmental bodies, and the information stored on the blockchain is independently verified by auditors like DNV GL.
D.I.G. reports a 10 percent increase in sales for vintages tracked by the authenticating platform since launch.
This is in line with sales of other blockchain-enabled foodstuffs. The French supermarket chain Carrefour’s reported a jump in sales after tracking the production of their Mousline potato puree with Nestle’s blockchain technology.
When announced, the wine traceability system was expected to expand to over 500 retail stores within Shanghai. Currently, three stores carry VeChainThor-enabled Penfolds Bin-407 bottles.
The enterprise-focused VeChain ecosystem aims to improve supply chain management. Several firms such as automobile manufacturers BMW and Renault, and global quality registrar DNV GL, use the management system to track products throughout their manufacturing lifecycle.
Penfolds wine bottle photo via Flickr