More than 100 vineyard blocks in the Clare Valley are participating in what is believed to be the world’s largest-ever wine provenance blockchain trial. Some 12 wine companies are participating in the VinoTrust trial, the brainchild of winemaker Jeff Grosset and grapegrower David Travers.
The pair won $50,000 in the South Australian Premier’s Blockchain Challenge in May last year and have since built a proprietary technology suite which combines blockchain, IoT, cloud, mobile, automation and geolocation on a platform to fully integrate immutable winery information management in real time.
The concept was initially focused on anti-fraud through proving provenance, authenticity and integrity, but has grown to a broader technological approach to how wine companies can better manage their data – to comply, for example with Wine Australia’s label integrity program (LIP).
The trial has enabled real-time tracking of grapes leaving the vineyard, real-time weighbridge data and automated yield averaging and live comparisons of yields in various Clare Valley sub regions.
“The trial and the support from the major local wine companies has exceeded our expectations,” Jeff says.
“Since we made the decision to build our own technology, we have created capability we hadn’t even imagined. For example, because loads are time stamped and geolocated as they leave the vineyard we can see when trucks depart the vineyard and we can plan for their arrival at the weighbridge.
“We are using an enhancement feature this week where I can watch the trucks on Google maps in real time, kind of like seeing an Uber on screen. As we improve this feature it will enhance our winery planning and logistics procedures.
“What started out as a passion for defending brand integrity has proven to be much more valuable as a management tool. All this time-stamped and immutable data can be made available to consumers via bottle labels from July and August this year, when we start releasing the first Riesling wines.”
After winning half of the Premier’s prize last year, Jeff and David had explored a range of commercialisation pathways, ultimately deciding to engage their own engineers and programmers to build a wine-specific technology platform.
Kilikanoon, Casella, Taylors, Pikes, Grosset, Mount Horrocks, Jim Barry Wines, Bourke & Travers, Kirrihill, Paulett Wines, Tim Adams and Vanguardist are all actively measuring and collecting real-time harvest and winery data.