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Thinfilm unveil first ‘smart’ wine bottle

A wine bottle featuring smart technology that can sense when it has been opened, send targeted information to consumers and battle counterfeiters is set to be unveiled in Shanghai.

The “smart” wine bottle will be unveiled later this month in Shanghai

The “smart wine bottle” leads on from a similar prototype unveiled last year by Diageo for its Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Developed using Thinfilm technology, Diageo’s smart bottle used extremely thin, electronic sensors that can tell if the bottle has been opened and where it is in the supply chain, and allow brands to send information to customers who scan the bottle with their smartphones.

Now, the first prototype using similar technology but for the wine industry is set to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress Shanghai later this month. Featuring Thinfilm Open Sense technology, the “smart wine bottle” can detect a product’s sealed and open states and wirelessly communicate content to a smartphone or device. The tags contain unique identifiers that make it possible for companies to authenticate and track products, with the tags remaining active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken.

“Winemakers and retailers currently are in need of a cost-effective and scalable means to track and confirm the authenticity of individual wine bottles across the supply chain”, said Thinfilm chief commercial officer Kai Leppänen. “This gap in the current solution set gives counterfeiters an upper hand. At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, we’re excited to show the industry how smart technology can provide an authentic solution and fulfill this consumer need.”

Diageo’s smart bottle prototype for its Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Thinfilm is working with Ferngrove Wine Group, a Chinese-owned, Western Australia premium wine company, to trial an anti-counterfeiting framework using its technology, operated by global security company G World.

“One of the significant outcomes is an anti-counterfeit framework that provides transparency and accountability at all stages of the supply chain”, said G World managing director, Grant Shaw. “We’re excited to leverage Thinfilm’s technology and believe this solution will be of real value to brand producers as well as consumers that demand authentic products.”

Counterfeit wine is a major problem worldwide, but especially in China, with Thinfilm claiming that up to 70% of wine sold in China, particularly among premium brands, could be fake.

“As one of Western Australia’s preeminent wineries and a major exporter to China, Ferngrove is dedicated to ensuring the authenticity and quality of our premium wines for our loyal consumers,” said Anthony Wilkes, Ferngrove’s CEO. “We’re excited to collaborate with G World and Thinfilm and look forward to implementing this unique solution over the coming months.”

The prototype will be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai later this month where attendees will be able to see a demo of the wine bottle in action.

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