Emerging technology firm Everledger is the first organisation to secure a bottle of wine’s provenance on the blockchain. The bottle, a 2001 Margaux, was certified and secured on the Chai Wine Vault - a joint solution introduced by Everledger and world-renowned fine wine expert Maureen Downey to transform provenance tracking 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,” says Leoni Runge, Everledger’s Head of Fine Wine. “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.”
The Chai Wine Vault issues certification to bottles authenticated through Maureen Downey’s Chai Method (TCM) where 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.
This digital proof travels with the wine as it moves between different stakeholders in the supply chain, with ownership and storage records updated as the bottle changes hands. 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 an asset’s value for years to come.
Built on the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric, The Chai Wine Vault is authenticated and secured by IBM Blockchain that helps bring transparency, security and efficiency to transactions in a permissioned environment.
“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. “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.”
A proven leader in the diamond industry, Everledger’s focus for the past year has been on securing the provenance of diamonds on the blockchain with 1,000,000 stones currently encrypted.
While a diamond’s provenance is threatened by conflict stones and the tampering of certificates, the wine industry shares the same need to protect a bottle’s identity and provenance in a secure and transparent way. In the fine wine industry where an estimated 20% of international sales are from counterfeit wine, problems with document tampering and fraudulent activity continue to affect the supply chain pipeline from grape to glass.
Until today, authenticators could only identify a counterfeit and were unable to certify an authentic bottle. Certification wasn’t possible given the risk of document tampering and the inability for the certificate to stay connected with the bottle of wine as it changes ownership and location.
Providing a single version of the truth for industry at every stage of a bottle’s lifetime journey, The Chai Wine Vault is part of Everledger’s continued commitment to work with industries where provenance matters to bring transparency to global trade.