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Fine wine NFT platform raises €6 million for expansion

Winechain, an NFT platform specialising in fine and prestige wine DTC sales, has raised €6 million of backing from some of the best known names in fine wine, ahead of its launch later this year. 

Bottles of red wine on a wooden shelf

The start-up, which was founded by the former head of Amazon Europe, Xavier Garambois, Guillaume Jourdan, CEO of VitaBella and Nicolas Mendiharat, CEO of the San Francisco Palate Club, launched at the end of May 2022, after securing  more than $1 million in backing from wine estates and wine lovers.

It has now upped its investment to around $6 million overall, and secured backing by the Rouzaud family of Champagne Roederer and Château Pichon-Comtesse, along with the Reybier family of St Emilion’s Château Cos d’Estournel, as well as venture capital fund, Fabric Ventures, with the aim to accelerate its technological development.

The new backers join some well-known names, which includes the Moueix family of Videlot and Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel.

The platform aims to be a  “new generation” marketplace of wine NFTS, which is calls wiNeFTs, using uses blockchain technology and Web3 (a new iteration of the worldwide web which incorporates blockchain technology and token-based economics) to enable an “interactive” direct-to-consumer sales channel that is backed by global logistics, the company previously said. It has already signed up global logistics provider CMA CGM Group, which has taken a minority shareholding in Winechain alongside its founder, CEO Rodolphe Saadé.

Winemakers that are part of the platform can choose which wines they wish to sell on Winechain, and access to the platform’s global community of buyers that meaning they can interact with their community of buyers directly.

Frédéric Rouzaud CEO of  Champagne Louis Roederer said the investment was an expression of the desire to “constantly innovate and encourage innovation”.

“In the vineyard, in the cellar, and in every aspect of our activity, we are in perpetual motion, attentive to the times and practices that are in constant evolution. For us, Winechain is a means of pursuing this approach and of going even further in terms of proximity and dialogue with wine enthusiasts,” he said.

Michel Reybier  of Château Cos d’Estournel added that it was “essential” to consider the new technologies supporting the wine sector, particularly with marketing campaigns targeting the future generations.

“Our current commitment to blockchain and wiNeFT dynamics is a means of allowing us to prepare for the future using our traditional strengths. The digital tools offered by Winechain will absolutely play a major role in our aim to boost the international reach of our wines,” he said.

Max Mersch of FABRIC Ventures explained that the increased traceability, transparency and accessibility would open up the wine world to a ne generation of wine enthusiasts.

“The wine enthusiast market is expanding at a pace that is rapidly outgrowing supply, and yet wineries are still looking to find ways to connect directly with their end consumers instead of the multiple logistics middlemen currently in place,” he said. “By creating NFTs for each case of wine straight at the source, wineries will have a transparent data driven view of their customers, will be able to store the wines in perfect conditions while the wine is being traded and will be able to benefit from royalty fees on the entire secondary market.”

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