Counterfeiting Moves Beyond Money & Software

Vintners are one of the latest victims of counterfeiting today. Europe and China have reported several cases of fraud, so in the United States, some proactive vintners are doing something to ensure the genuine article is what each customer receives.

Many wineries still use a method of assurance that begins with only using trusted individuals for transport, small numbers of transported goods at a time, and sales to well respected retailers. They believe this almost police-like ‘chain of custody’ method is working well to date. They also keep complete databases of the wines produced, with all other matters of pertinence.

Some wineries have traditional ways to assure authenticity, but have begun to use multiple methods of ascertaining origin of what is in the bottle. This is becoming necessary as the pricing of vintage wines climb exponentially.

In an industry magazine, a report is made that up to 5% of the wine sold in secondary markets is non-genuine. This amounts to a fair sum since the wine industry is contributing approximately 162 billion dollars into the economy of this nation. Recent fraud claims include wine originally owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Colgin Cellars has traditionally used the actual kiss of its owner upon the bottle, in a bright red color. One would think this would be easily authenticated, but Ann Colgin doesn’t think it should stop there. She, and others in the Napa Valley of California have recently begun using special ink dyes and other undisclosed methods to be certain they can deliver only what began at their winery.

These ink dyes and other methods are produced by Eastman Kodak, which has had to branch into new areas of endeavor due to declining sales of traditional photo film and papers. Kodak does say, however, that these undisclosed methods are proprietary, and need the use of a handheld reader, using laser technology, to authenticate.

[tags]wine, vintners, counterfeiting, proprietary dyes, laser recognition, Eastman Kodak[/tags]