Protecting top wines from counterfeiters

By Belinda Willis

High-tech tracking and blockchain data is guarding Australia’s premium wine industry from fakes.

Premium wine regions are being protected by a niche technology business defending sought-after drops from counterfeiters around the world.

eBottli launched late last year from Adelaide, South Australia with a suite of new tracking and blockchain technologies, geolocating services for bottles or containers, and unique identifier labels for winemakers.

“It guarantees the authenticity of the bottle and addresses the problem for Australian exports in places like China where about 50 per cent of the wine is counterfeit,” founder Nathalie Taquet said.

“We can also connect the customer with the vineyard, they can see the story leading to the bottle arriving in a restaurant.”

eBottli is now working with 12 clients across Australia, including vineyards in the quality wine regions of McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

Taquet said COVID-19 disruptions halted a project in China earlier in the year connecting a South Australian vineyard to final customers.

The plan was to have wine bottles arrive on the table in a restaurant where diners could then use smartphones to scan the label and read its Australian story of origin.

“We had some different projects not only with wine but also in fish and chemical projects to adjust the business because of COVID-19 and bushfires affecting some of the wine regions,” Taquet said.

“Now we’ve started on this project in China again.

“Our business uses unique identifier bottle labels to trace the history through the supply chain and augmented reality to show consumers where they come from.”

French immigrant Taquet said a family owned winery in the Burgundy wine region in France grew her own passion for the industry.

And, after moving to Sydney two years ago with her family, Taquet was drawn to South Australia’s growing international reputation for wine and moved to its capital city of Adelaide to establish eBottli eight months ago.

She began by launching the first layer of the business, Bottli.

This involves delivering a niche selection of wines from smaller, boutique South Australian wineries that do not supply major bottle shops along with some French wines, to customers once a month.

Tasting notes and classes, along with suggestions of walks to follow for a picnic tasting, are added to the delivery that is seeing increased demand from new customers.

Taquet, who is a member of the Wine Industry Suppliers Australia committee, said the move was made increasingly attractive as the South Australian government continued work to strengthen its ties with France.

The government strategy followed French company Naval Group winning the contract to build Australia’s next generation submarines in Adelaide.

Taquet’s daughter is attending Highgate Primary School, one of two schools with a new bilingual French learning program introduced for workers moving to South Australia.

“And the idea is for more French people to discover Australian wine because in France we don’t know enough about how good this wine is,” Taquet said.

Taquet, who is also on the board of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is taking part in an online panel discussion Startup & Angels focusing on female founders and investors this week.

Before moving to Adelaide, Taquet who has a PhD in Life Sciences and a background in science research was working for Nestle Skin Health.

This article originally appeared at The Lead SA.

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