When it comes to high-class brands of wine, there is always the risk of counterfeiting or fraud due to their high-value. The price of a single bottle of French Bordeaux, from Chateau Le Pin, ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, and thus trafficking of forgeries is a highly-lucrative business for the counterfeiters. These counterfeiters can attach the photocopied labels of cult and other rare and expensive wines to the low-quality and less expensive wine, which is then resold to the customers – often at auctions.
To encounter the counterfeiting the French winemaker, who supplies its wine in Europe and parts of Asia, used several technologies including bubble codes, QR codes, holograms and Data Matrix but still failed to prevent the fraud because all of these solutions could be replicated using laser, digital or industrial printers.
Recently, Chateau Le Pin has acquired a Near Field Communication (NFC) solution from Anti-counterfeiting identification technology company Selinko to ensure the delivery of 100% real wine to its customers.
This solution consists of a high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz NFC-compliant RFID tag built into the label of wine bottle, an application for an NFC-enabled phone to detect the identification number of that label, and a server for managing the collected data. This helps Le Pin make sure that every bottle’s label is authentic, and confirm that customer has received the right product. Apart from preventing the counterfeiting, another advantage of the technology is that it couldn’t be replicated.
Le Pin began affixing the Selinko logo to its bottles two months back. The lower left corner of every label includes a logo which specifies that the label is interactive. Encoded with a unique identification number, an inside secured NFC RFID chip is embedded in the label just underneath the Selinko logo.
To determine the authenticity of wine bottle, the users have to log into the Selinko Website from their NFC-enabled phone and place it near Le Pin label. Now if the wine is authentic, the user will receive a unique serial number and the certificate of bottle’s authenticity.
The server stores the transaction, enabling the winemaker to see that what is happening with its bottles after they are shipped to a store or customer. Every time the label is read by an individual via an NFC-enabled phone, the record of that read event is fed into company’s data. In this way, the firm acknowledges that where its bottles were distributed and to which customer.
Once an individual reads the label after purchasing the bottle, the software eliminates its digital certificate from company server, thereby making the refilling and reselling of that bottle as a counterfeit product impossible.