eProvenance, a Near Field Communication (NFC) system for monitoring the temperature of cases of wine, is now in use by major producers to ensure the quality of their wine during shipment and storage.
Eric Vogt founded eProvenance in January 2007. Using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and handheld scanners and smartphones for data access, the company hopes to establish the definitive global database to authenticate the origin and authenticity of the world's fine wines. The company partnered with Near Field Solutions for NFC development assistance with the project.
The NFC sensors, embedded in the wooden wine cases, encode temperature, history and origin of a case of wine through an NFC-enabled reader or smartphone. The signal sends the consumer to a secure online database where the information is stored and then communicated to the customer.
An NFC tag under the back label of each bottle connects consumers to a video of the specific winemaker. Noted Vogt, “We envision adding an NFC sensor inside each case to monitor the temperature for 15 years, allowing consumers with an NFC phone to read the entire temperature history with one click. The potential to connect with our consumers and to safeguard their wine is tremendous.”
As explained on the company’s website, the NFC sensors are a cost-effective way to monitor shipments at the case or pallet level, providing verification to wineries, shippers and suppliers. Handheld, WiFi-enabled RFID readers can access information at any point in the global journey of a case of wine, allowing importers and retailers to confirm the quality and integrity of their shipments and assure their customers of proper transport and storage conditions during each voyage segment from winery to retail shelf or consumer cellar.
After monitoring temperatures for recent ground shipments from California to Arizona and Texas, WTN Services learned a powerful lesson. According to Chris Edwards, Vice President & General Manager, "We were shocked to discover that while we were paying for a reefer truck for transport, the wine was then sitting out on the loading dock of the distributor where the temperature exceeded an acceptable standard for fine wine handling. As a result, we changed our Arizona distributor and have shifted our Texas distribution to a smaller wholesaler. We were able to assess our distribution channel as never before and make critical improvements based on clear data."