David Travers and Jeff Grosset from the Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association won the Premier’s Blockchain Innovation Challenge in Adelaide on Monday evening.
The pair won $50,000 to develop their innovative idea which combines emerging QR code technology embedded in the wine bottle’s screwcap but also linked to a consumer-friendly blockchain ledger, to confirm the wine’s authenticity.
Mr Travers confirmed they had lodged a provisional patent of their idea and said the $50,000 prize would be used to finalise a proof of concept.
He said blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies, was still a little-known concept, but it not only had the potential to guarantee wine bottle security, but could deliver future savings in the wine logistics and create completely new levels of consumer insights.
Mr Grosset, who played a leading role in the introduction of screwcap some 20 years ago, said their idea could be potentially worth $1 billion in Australian wine sales.
“We’ve taken on the challenge to ensure people can continue to rely on the provenance and authenticity of Australian wine,” he said.
The pair pitched their idea in a ‘shark-tank’ like competition as part of the ADC Blockchain Challenge conference on Monday afternoon.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, who is championing the creation of a digital economy in that state, was among those watching on in the audience.
One of the judges was conference co-chair Joe Schoendorf, a Silcon Valley venture capitalist and a former senior executive at Apple and HP.