Clare Valley winemaker Jeff Grosset and grapegrower David Travers have contracted Guardtime, the world’s leading enterprise blockchain company, to build their ‘wine authentication’ proof of concept.
The pair, who won a $50,000 prize in South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall’s Blockchain Challenge on 18 March, have been finalising arrangements for a planned trial during the 2020 winegrape harvest.
Their idea, to apply blockchain technology with a ‘digital’ screwcap to prevent fraud and ensure the wine’s integrity, has captured significant interest in Asia and the USA in the past three months.
They have established a new company, G&T Technology, and appointed Estonia-based businessman John Longhurst as the company’s chairman. Mr Longhurst, a former senior Capital Group and PIMCO executive, says Guardtime makes a natural partner for G&T Tech.
“Guardtime was founded in Estonia in 2007 and is not just the biggest blockchain company globally, it also has a track record of success in delivering real world applications of its technology,” he says.
“Estonia is the world’s most advanced cyber economy and Guardtime was chosen by the Estonian Government to help build its advanced public digital infrastructure and its blockchain has underpinned its digital systems since 2010. Guardtime’s KSI blockchain technology, its agility, and presence in Europe, China and the USA, makes it a logical partner for us.”
Mr Longhurst says G&T Technology is 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 says.
“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.”
Guardtime’s CEO Mike Gault says: “Guardtime was immediately attracted by Jeff and David’s concept and their track record of innovation.”
“This use case is a perfect example of the benefits of overt and covert anti-tamper technologies, combined with immutable provenance information gathered and distributed by Guardtime’s blockchain supply chain platform. Blockchain is useless in physical supply chains if you cannot connect the physical to digital and the combination of anti-tamper technologies directly linked to Guardtime’s blockchain technology is a game-changer for the wine industry and physical supply chains in general.
“We like to work with knowledgeable industry partners and we are extremely excited at the prospect of working together with Jeff and David to develop a product that brings the potential of the wider benefits and efficiencies of this platform to all sectors of the wine industry.
“Global wine exports, worth more than US$35 billion, remains a largely insecure supply chain full of bureaucracy and inefficiency. This technology is targeted at dramatically improving its efficiency as well as assuring the wine’s provenance.”