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Here's how they work. 

Mike Pomranz
Updated January 30, 2019

Not that most of consider it on a regular basis, but fraud is a serious issue in the wine world. Wine label producer Avery Dennison even cites a stat from the International Center for Alcohol Policies that 30 percent of alcohol consumed worldwide is counterfeit. But new technologies are emerging to help deal with the problem, and a Napa Valley winery has recently signed on to test run one of these trendy sounding innovations: enhanced labels that can be traced with a blockchain.

Appellation Earth—a label from Napa Valley’s Wine Trade Network—has teamed up with the aforementioned Avery Dennison and blockchain experts Everledger to roll out these high-tech new labels in the US. Each one will reportedly include a tamper-resistant inlay with near-field communication (NFC) technology that supports the use of blockchain to give each bottle its own unique digital identity. The companies suggest that this will allow drinkers to follow the journey of their wine “from grape to bottle” – and ostensibly thereafter if need be.

“Our pioneering work in digital provenance has advanced industries, notably diamonds and coloured gemstones, through greater transparency, efficiencies, collaboration and trust. We are pleased to have the opportunity to further establish our work in the wine industry with this innovative joint solution, bringing the full benefits of blockchain directly to the consumers,” Scott Austin, Everledger senior executive vice president of Americas, . “Combining blockchain with NFC technology to permanently secure the provenance of wines further provides added confidence in the provenance data captured and tracked through our platform. From there, the value and reputation of the wines from producer to consumer is protected, enhancing trust and confidence in the authenticity and value of their purchase.”

According to the Wine Trade Network website, bottles of 2015 Appellation Earth Red Blend currently sell for $34.99 – so granted, this technology won’t be saving wine investors millions of dollars quite yet, but hopefully it’s a start.

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