IBM Corp. and eProvenance, a company that monitors wine shipment conditions, announced Thursday the launch of VinAssure, a new distributed ledger blockchain-powered platform that will offer a highly secured way to track wine as it moves from vineyard to wineglass.
IBM and eProvenance hope to change the way that wine producers, distributors, companies and retailers do business because by helping increase tractility, efficiency and profitability in the wine supply chain by using a permissioned, permanent and shared record of data.
VinAssure will run on IBM Cloud and is built on IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply, which is designed to bring together all participants including wine producers, négociants, importers, transporters, distributors, restaurants and retailers.
The first member of VinAssure is De Maison Selections, a U.S. importer of responsibly sourced wines, cider and spirits from independent producers in Spain and France, who will test out its capabilities and become the bedrock of its practices.
“We believe wine communicates a strong sense of the place and the culture of those who contributed to its creation,” said André Tamers, owner of De Maison Selections. “We honor our winemakers and their goods by protecting wines through temperature-controlled transport and storage from the cellar to our customers.”
Food and foodstuffs are a particularly common supply chain sought after for blockchain traceability thanks to its ability to make record-keeping less complex. That’s especially useful for reducing waste and also helping to prevent food-borne illnesses when it comes to detecting defects in refrigeration, since sensor metadata can be included in the blockchain.
To protect consumers from food-borne illness, IBM launched the IBM Food Trust, a commercially available blockchain-based platform designed for global use by farms, distributors and retailers to track food from field to table. Since its launch, numerous foods have been tracked on Food Trust such as Kvarøy Arctic Norwegian salmon, Tunisian olive oil and romaine lettuce.
IBM is not the only company looking to blockchain for food safety and consumer trust. United Parcel Service Inc. and Herd X Inc. put USDA certified Black Angus beef on the blockchain in 2019, Nestlé SA piloted tracking milk on the blockchain, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. traced seafood exports from India and GrainChain raised $8.2 million to track grain.
“No one wants to open a bottle of wine and discover it’s been cooked,” said Robin Grumman-Vogt, chief executive of eProvenance. “When the supply chain fails to maintain proper temperature conditions, that’s precisely what can happen. VinAssure is designed to bring collaboration and clarity to an often-chaotic supply chain. The sensitivity of the product, the number of actors, the complex logistics challenges and a convoluted patchwork of regulations across the USA and from country to country, are all factors that play into the need for a wine industry ecosystem.”
With the complexity of the supply chain and the number of moving parts, VinAssure and the monitoring systems connected to the blockchain would be able to assist with reducing waste. That could improve efficiency across any number of handoffs among field, vintner, distributer, truck, warehouse, store, retailer and consumer.
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