From vineyard mechanization to more sustainable packaging alternatives and DTC routes to market, the wine industry is slowly opening up to the many changes the past decade has brought. New technologies have allowed the industry to approach the latest trends in fresh ways and even overcome all challenges that have appeared. A couple of years ago, nobody would have believed that wine tastings would have been shifted from in-person events to the online sphere. Thanks to Covid, wineries worldwide have accepted the trend and quickly adapted to deliver high-quality experiences within this new digital reality. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Nowadays, it is undeniable that the internet has found its place in the wine world and that technology will guide the future of wine. The whole world is looking for a more secure and free internet, more transparency, a better understanding of their food and wine sources, and new experiences. And that is exactly what Web3 will bring to us. (Don’t worry if you aren’t too sure what Web3 entails; we got you covered.)
Right now, you’re reading this article on Web2, the internet as we know it today. Its limitations lie in the fact that data is often obscured and controlled by “the big tech”. Web3 is the exact opposite — a decentralized digital space based on blockchain technology that allows people to interact peer to peer and freely exchange funds in a secure way. Not to mention the benefits that smart contracts and algorithms will bring to the world in terms of efficiency and trustworthiness.
The adoption of Web3 is bound to affect many industries; the wine industry is one of them. In 2018, Tommy Nordam Jensen and Håkon Harberg created Wiv Technologies, which utilizes blockchain-based assets technology (NFT’s or Non Fungible Tokens) to create a secure global asset register and enable a more transparent, sustainable, and decentralized wine investment business.
Let’s see how.
1. Trustworthiness and Fair Trade
New Wiv technologies will promote trustworthiness while building a more fair and inclusive trading network.
Considering current counterfeiting issues and lack of provenance when it comes to most wine investments, the blockchain brings a unique solution. Investors can buy and hold the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) created by vineyards for bottles and cases of fine wine. In simple words, these NFTs represent digital certificates of ownership and authenticity, which are exchangeable at any stage since the token is digital and backed by a physical twin.
From the producer’s perspective, these smart contracts are an innovative and more accessible way of marketing and promoting their wines while also attracting non-traditional markets. NFTs help them utilize the benefits of immutability and peer to peer trustless transactions to create a reliable contract between the buyer, the seller, and the physical wine they represent.
Wiv promotes transparency through record-keeping, trading liquidity, geolocation, and market assurance.
Remember those days when consumers would drink up to 60 lt of wine per capita without caring that much about how it was made? Sadly those good old boomer days are gone, and modern consumers are not only drinking less. Due to a degree of care about their health, they also demand clear information on what’s in their wine. Especially when it comes to more transparent labelings that specify pesticides, chemicals, and allergens.
Wiv has created a wine ecosystem where transparency is king, using a permissioned, permanent, and shared data record.
Producers can share a wealth of information with their consumers. They can provide notes on the vintage or harvest and details on the wine’s progress through distribution channels. The technology can detail who handles the wine during transport and storage and what temperature conditions the bottle encountered. And this level of detail is only just the beginning.
Also, have you heard of cryptocurrency?
The most popular blockchain application is found in cryptocurrencies (you might have heard about Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others). Free from government limitations, companies can now create their own digital currencies. A cryptocurrency specifically designed for wine purchasing and selling is the WIVA coin.
The $WIVA coin supports the WiV ecosystem. As wine is converted into currency via the WiV NFTs, $WIVA will, in the near future, enable investments and transactions in our own unique marketplace.
Members of the community can earn $WIVA by becoming an holder for the eventual wine dao, producing and proposing ecosystem concepts or content, trading WiV NFTs, bringing on partners, and yield farming for lending and liquidity pools. As the ecosystem grows, so will the utility of the $WIVA token.
3. Top-Level Industry Standards
It will build authenticity and provenance, improving positioning and reputation.
The challenge of the wine industry’s current state lies in polarization between tradition and innovation. While some stick — probably way too much- to their traditional methods and neglect investing in modern practices, others are only focused on chasing all the latest marketing trends without caring about culture. Finding the balance between the two could be tricky, but there are ways to get the best of both worlds. These upcoming new technologies can be seen as scary to the uninitiated as most of us don’t know enough about them, but the truth is, that when used responsibly, they will bring significant benefits as the industry adapts into a new re-evolutionary state.
For example, WiV, a blockchain-based wine trading platform, combines new technologies with knowledge from one of the oldest wine regions in the world; Georgia. They’re working directly with the Government of Georgia to combine innovation and tradition in creating the world’s first wine DAO. (A decentralized autonomous organization). Specifically for the purposes of promoting and refining Georgian wine. From the vineyard all the way to the shop floor.
By developing a quality assurance scheme, a panel of experts will judge vintages, quality, and authenticate a wine’s origins to ensure that wines meet the highest industry standards. They seek to enhance the credibility of Georgian wine. Registering wine in the blockchain enhances a producer’s anti-counterfeit systems, which will result in reducing fakes in the market and building brand value.
Merging world-leading wine experts, the quality of Georgian grapes, and state-of-the-art technology will be a winning formula for the highest-level wine quality. This increased level of connectivity will help strengthen business relationships, expose the wineries to new potential clients, and open new channels for communication about all things wine. Not to mention, it should function as a way to make sure the relative net profits of the wine being sold find their way back to the principle growers, winemakers, and farmers.
4. Innovation and New wine experiences
Gamification will boost innovation through new wine experiences.
If you were told three years ago that Zoom wine cellar tours would become a regular occurrence, you’d have a hard time believing the idea. Yet, we’ve found a way to leverage technology and innovate our way around the challenges thrown in our face.
WiV’s sandbox game, which is still in development and will launch in February, is focused on exploring the winemaking process, from harvesting the grapes to managing your wine bar. This game stands out from the competition with its clever use of blockchain and NFTs: participants will earn NFTs by playing and redeeming them for real-world assets.
All in all, as much as tradition plays a part in winemaking, so does innovation. As much as some decades ago we would imagine the future in 2020 with flying cars and unwired phones, the time to start day-dreaming on how the metaverse and VR are going to shape enotourism and wine experiences has come!
Why Should You Care?
As a whole wine industry (including producers, traders, communicators, consumers, etc.) we have come to the point where we need to acknowledge that technology is changing the way we produce, sell, and drink wine.
Only twenty years ago, we couldn’t imagine that a polished website is a crucial component of a winery’s success. Now, some industry leaders like Tommy Jensen and Hakon Harberg are already taking the lead in developing novel technologies that rely on the blockchain to make a more transparent and sustainable wine industry.
Whether you’re professionally trading wine or purchasing bottles as a wine enthusiast, it’s wise to keep up with the latest technology developments. Stay tuned for more updates!
7 min read by Flor Gomez