Wine Fraud Solved by SF Wine Advisors Using Blockchain?
Wine fraud is not as infrequent as you may think. The market is now at $300 billion and by the early 2020’s will be over $400 billion. Niche markets are very expensive, which means fraud can be lucrative and not that hard to accomplish. A French newspaper in 2013 estimated that 20% of the wine market is fake. Since San Francisco is a big wine town with a fairly sizable sprinkling of wealthyr and semi-wealthy wine enthusiasts, the probability of fraud in SF is high.
Enter Maureen Downey of SF’s Chai Consulting, a wine certification company. Her idea to combat fraud is to take a bottle of wine, have it certified by a wine expert who works with Downey (18 of them across the planet), and record 80 distinct data points. This data is then put into a blockchain online where it is secure from hacking or fraud interference, and the same data fingerprint is put on a chip that is applied to the cork of the bottle. Thus, that unique bottle is tied to that unique blockchain identity. In theory, every bottle of a particular wine that is blockchained and chipped would be immune to fraud.
The process, of course, costs a pretty penny. But it ensures authenticity for pricey wines.