Chainflux Wine Traceability using Blockchain

Chaintrace, the product that enables traceability for the food industry, can be applied to the challenge of Wine provenance, traceability using it’s blockchain based traceability solution. We are hopeful that this technology, when implemented in a ‘Source to Shelf’ supply-chain, will bring a very transparent and trusted mechanism to validate and trace the products heritage.  This platform, for all the supply-chain stakeholders, and will bring in more efficiency, value addition, auditability, security of data leading to more trust and value by end customers.  

Traceability of wine can be defined as a method through which anybody in the wine supply chain can verify the origin and composition of each batch of wine, its conditions of storage, the processes followed, and all the products that were in contact with the wine after the production.

Primary Requirements

  •  Information about the source of grapes, vineyards from the grower end, capturing details like location, type of the vine, annual production volume, origin and chemical content of water used for cleaning and irrigation, and different treatments undergone need to be recorded and made available.
  •  Use Chaintrace, an open but secure platform for exchange of information (download as well as attest/upload) by various stake-holders in the Wine supply-chain.  This includes source grading, processing equipment, processing method, storage type, storage duration, transportation distance, repackaging, warehousing and storage, distribution and shelf storage. All this needs to be done in a digitized manner so that there is less paper records, but at the same time enhance traceability and transparency of various activities and records. 
  •  A level playing (open) platform which provides equal opportunity for all stake-holders and at the same time protects interests of all stakeholders, including grape growers, wine producer, bulk transporter, cellar storage, packer, wholesale distributor, retailer and end customer in terms of all essential attributes of product, process and quality at minimal additional cost.  This also helps in identifying ‘vintage’ brands down the line in terms of how unique a certain batch or bottle of wine is in the entire wine ecosystem.
  • Data recorded is hack/tamper-proof and is reliable from an auditing perspective.  Data should cover all aspects of the supply-chain including production, supply, demand and consumption.  This helps in establishing export/import standards and meeting information requirements during such process.
  • The data recorded should also be available for further data analysis and modelling in terms of dashboards, periodic reports, automated alerts and such other activities.
  • Data should be stored on the cloud or on premises (both options are open) in a secure but scalable manner.
  • The platform should be able to address customer concerns in terms of quality, demand, price clarifications, product recall in a quick and efficient manner when situation demands

Use Cases and Scenario

Following are some indicative use cases using the technology/solution in our proposal.  This is not an exhaustive list.  Based on the business needs and stake-holder requirements, there could be other use case scenarios which are of higher priority.

  • Use case Scenario #1: A Grape grower could get updates on the Wine Market application on his smart phone. The wine grower will be able to receive daily alerts as well as demand forecasts in terms of both price and volume in the coming days based on a Time-series recurrent neural network in the solution which accounts for previous yields, weather patterns, market prices and other factors for a given variety of grape grown in a given location.
  • Use Case Scenario #2:  A bad product/consumer report on a given wine product from a retail outlet is quickly traced out to a specific lot of wine coming from a particular whole seller.  On further investigation, it is traced only to a particular blend of wine, processed in a certain style in a manufacture/repackaging facility on a certain date.  Other varieties of wine seem unaffected.  Only the affected batch and variety of wine is isolated and recalled from the markets based on available shipment manifests maintained on the block chain. 
  • Use case Scenario #3:  Based on changes in export policy and global demand in wine consumption, it is expected to impact certain varieties of grape grown in a particular region.  Based on rain and weather pattern for the year, correspondingly, the demand in price for those varieties of grape and quantities that would be exported is forecast for different calendar months of the year.
  • Use case Scenario #4:  Small fire breaks down in a warehouse office.  Stock of wine is not impacted but most of the office documents are lost.  The same records are retrieved from the cloud storage for bank, insurance purposes and business is restored within a week.
  • Use case scenario #5:  A certain brand/batch of wine gets attention of a wine connoisseur because of its sweetness, acidity and overall body.  Further research leads to the year in which it was grown and the circumstances of soil and weather pattern when the grapes were harvested many years back.  Block-chain helps establish how many bottles of wine were manufactured, by following the same exact process and which batches and where they were distributed.  The wine critics approval helps determine a new price based on its novelty and availability.

How Blockchain Can Help

The wine supply-chain consists of a distributed/decentralized set of entities, stake-holders comprising of many individual, regional, local, national or even international organizations.  There is a vast amount supply-chain, commerce activity between these stakeholders eventually ending with retail sales and end-customer.  In line with modern technology and practices with other industries, there is a need to develop and provide all its stakeholders a platform which is ready with the demands of new age commerce, communication, automation, digitization, economy and a level playing ground.

With our deep experience in Information technology and expertise in both Block chain as well as AIML practices, Chainflux would like to bring in a team of professionals with years of solid experience in multiple domains as well as technology based applications to customize a technology solution for the wine industry which not only meets these demands but is future ready as well. 

Block-chain provides a mechanism for developing ‘smart contracts’ on the back-end.  ERC-20 and ERC-721 are two prevalent Blockchain standards which are popular in being adopted in supply-chain solution.  ERC-20 is most suited for currency and commodity related transactions.  When there is no need of individual product, package identification and traceability, ERC-20 could be easily adopted.  ERC-721 standards are more suited when individual products (say a vintage bottle of wine) have to be uniquely identified and tracked.  Chainflux is well versed in using both these standards in implementing Blockchain solutions which needs to solve specific business/traceability issues in the Wine supply chain.

In the overall scheme of things, the primary purpose of using block-chain technology is to ensure many rudimentary steps which involves manual data entry and book keeping are automated.  That means there is less chance of human error and also there is traceability in terms of what caused a certain change.  Once the record is committed to the block-chain they are immutable.  Business rules will allow corrections and modifications but tampering is certainly ruled out due to the basic nature of Block chain technology.  Also, deployment of such a system on a cloud, in an open/transparent manner makes the whole system democratic and provides for a level playing ground for all its stake-holders.  This in turn also promotes trust, traceability since it is open to audit at any given point in time, any stage of the supply-chain, it will make it more globally acceptable and ready for market competition.  The technology and sustainable processes could make Wine products positioned in the market based on its various attributes, be it unique source of grapes, the process of material/blend into a high quality, age/vintage, storage and bottling into a trustable and reliable product  ready for a modern future.

Specific implementations on Blockchain

This section, enumerates different but specific aspects of Wine block-chain that can be managed using our proposed solution.

1. Authentication of Source region

Blockchain technology can be used to validate the exact region from which the raw material, a.k.a., grapes used has been sourced from. This includes soil conditions, rain, climate under which grapes were grown.  In addition, if chemical analysis (acidity, sugar content, etc.), is available during the source qualification process, the same could be captured on block-chain.

2. Grape variety classification

The actual classification of Grapes is based on experts and their sensory perception of a certain produce.  Though there is some automation of chemical analysis and ‘electronic tongue’ techniques, such processes are beyond the scope of block-chain.  Whatever process is followed by a grape grower or bulk consumer in classification of grapes, Block-chain technology comes in the picture in terms of uniquely stamping such batches electronically and such  tagging or tokenization is traceable across the supply chain including details of professional sampler, location of classification, technique used etc. All other factors emanating from analysis be it mineral analysis, amino acid and protein profiles, polyphenolic profiles, presence of volatile compounds can be stored on blockchain.

3. Wine Age Validation

With time and ageing, Wine undergoes a variety of physical, chemical and bio-chemical changes. Most of such changes are beneficial.  Certain crop years which have beneficial weather conditions also have certain contribution to the value of wine. Radioactivity measurements of specific isotopes are used to determine age of wine.  However, once such age determination is done, the same could be stored on block-chain including the details of such tests, testing facility, date of analysis.  Results from repeated / multiple tests by different agencies along the supply chain to independently assess such qualifications can also be stored on the block-chain helping retailers and customers view such analytical reports in a tamper-free, data secure reports from the block-chain.

4. Wine Production/Technology Validation

There are variety of wine production processes.  The process compliance has an impact on both the compositional and sensorial aspects of the wine.  Fraudulent claims could be made on process followed to appreciate the value of the wine produced and being marketed.  Sparkling wine variety is valued based on what process/technology is used to introduce CO2 to wine.  Amino acid analysis and isotopic analysis is done to identify the method.  Findings of such analysis for a given batch or variety of wine can be stored on the Block-chain in a tamper free process. Based on the values determined from such analytic process, and storing findings on block-chain, the process, technology can be identified or even better, findings from chemical analysis could determine the value of the wine.   Similar process could be followed for special varieties of wines like rose wines and non-alcoholic wines as well.

5. Cellar Storage and Transportation validation

During storage of wine in cellar, the temperature, humidity and other physical aspects could be regularly tracked and stored on the block-chain (periodic sampling).  If there are thresholds (low and high water marks) which get crossed, and there is automation to capture such exception condition, the same could be integrated with alerts and notification which could get recorded on the block-chain.  Absence of alerts, notification and periodic logs of such parameters on the blockchain assures storage standard compliance.  This is applicable both at wholesale as well as retail storage and transportation.

6. Whole seller Wine Varieties and Stocks

Though this is not a primary objective of block-chain, since all other parameters of production, quantities, distribution is being monitored and tracked on block-chain, inventory of different products at different locations can be easily managed through block-chain as well.  Alternately, block-chain can be used as a secondary system to validate stocks received and managed at various stages of wine supply-chain.

7. Time series Grape Produce Production and Cost (Auction/procurement)

Either by using statistical methods or AIML based techniques, time series calculations could forecast yields of different varieties of grapes taking into consideration various factors contributing to grape production.  This can also be co-related with global trends, demand and supply helping grape growers expected market returns of specific varieties of grapes in different seasons of the year.  The information when captured on block-chain and made available to all grape growers, democratizes fair prize practices in an open and transparent manner helping all stake-holders, without price gouging and also preventing any other fraudulent practices.

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