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Liv-ex launches SIB Passport

In its quest to simplify and speed up fine wine trading, Liv-ex have just introduced a system to check the condition of individual bottles.


While the publishing industry has long used ISBN codes to identify books, it was only in 2011 that Liv-ex created a similar system for the wine trade. Known as the Liv-ex Wine Identification Number, or LWIN, it has been “part of a journey to make trading easier for everyone,” said Ashley Hopkins, head of logistics at Liv-ex whose latest innovation is the SIB (standard in-bond) Passport.

“What the Passport is trying to identify electronically is whether the wine is in good condition or not,” Hopkins told the drinks business. “It is like a seal of approval for the merchant or end consumer that the stock has been checked independently.” Checks include that the wine is filled to the right level, has good labels and is in its original case.

Whereas it might take a warehouse a week to provide a photographic proof of a wine’s condition, the new system should definitely speed up the process reckons Hopkins. “It’s all to encourage electronic trading and avoid needless movement of stock. I joined Liv-ex in May 2011 when the 09’s were released, and we were literally seeing the same wines coming in and going out. They used to go up the motorway to Octavian, go over to Vinothèque and then back to us again.”

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