Australian winery uses new tech to combat wine fraud

Canberra, Dec 19 (IANS): A South Australian winery has started trialing a new technology to combat international wine fraud.

Grosset Wines, based in the Clare Valley north of Adelaide, have swapped out their usual bottle caps in Australia and the UK for ones that use Enseal -- a product designed by owner Jeffrey Grosset, reports Xinhua news agency.

The caps have a microchip inserted underneath their top, which consumers can scan with their smartphones to check if the label matches the bottle's contents.

Wine fraud can occur when empty bottles are refilled with other wines and resealed, label details are changed or bottles are labeled with wrong information about variety, region, or vintage.

Jeffrey Grosset said it was hard to determine to what extent fraud was happening with exported Australian wines but that the practice is on the rise.

"There's more fraud in wine than there ever has been before," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.

"The amount of fraud occurring, not with just Australian wine, but everywhere, is quite significant and probably a lot higher than people realize."

It comes two decades after Grosset played a leading role in the global switch from corks to screw caps.

In addition to preventing wines from spoiling, screw caps made it harder for wines to be faked.

The Enseal cap, which can cost as little as two cents each, also allows wineries to share information about vintage, such as when the grapes were picked, with consumers.

Unlike a QR code, the microchip is linked to a record system that cannot be replicated.

The company is now in negotiations with two of the largest screw cap makers in the world to roll it out globally.



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