World-first in wine innovation

New world-first blockchain wine authentication technology is set to be trialled in the Clare Valley next vintage.

Clare Valley winemaker Jeff Grosset and grapegrower David Travers are developing an idea to apply blockchain technology to prevent fraud and ensure a wine’s integrity.

The pair won a $50,000 prize in South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall’s Blockchain Challenge in March.

The Plains Producer understands Grosset and Travers have been contemplating a model which could see Clare Valley winemakers and grapegrowers become first adaptors of the potentially ground-breaking technology, with plans afoot for a “broad-ranging” trial in the Clare Valley during the 2020 winegrape harvest.   

“This is similar to when the Clare Valley led in the adoption of screwcaps.  The ‘fake wine’ syndrome is already a major threat to the fine wine market in Europe and it’s spreading,” Mr Grosset said.

Mr Travers would not be drawn on the specifics of a trial other than to say “it would be great for the Clare Valley to again pioneer innovation”.

“This time with blockchain, and with grapegrowers joining winemakers –  pioneering innovation is certainly our aim, but it’s too early to be thinking specifics, the key focus for us now is to complete the proof of concept,” he said.

The technology has captured significant interest in Asia and the USA in the past three months.

Grosset and Travers have established a new company, G&T Technology, and appointed Estonia-based businessman John Longhurst as the company’s chairman.

Mr Longhurst said G&T Technology was aiming to have a prototype to show Australian wine producers, trade and consumers within six months.

“The global fine wine market is under threat due to increasing wine fraud.  Consumers, especially Gen Y and Z, want to be sure they are buying the real thing and are demanding proof of provenance, authenticity and integrity,” Mr Longhurst said.

“In the case of bottled wine, guaranteeing authenticity has not yet been possible. Wine producers who adopt this system will be able to give that assurance.”