Tired of seeing their bottles resold at exorbitant prices on auction sites, winemakers with prestigious appellation are now using tracking technologies for the sake of control and imaging.
It’s been a while since virtual entered the world of wine. Since Covid, there are also “virtual wine fairs” which offer remote tasting of mini-samples of 2 to 4 centilitres, making it possible to preserve trade exchanges while discussing via interconnected screens. Little by little, in all phases of marketing, start-ups are devouring the shares of this traditionally “father’s” business, practiced in the family spirit.
One of the more surprising technological initiatives concerns the aid system, which frustrates the often wealthy collectors, surprised to be denied what they want. To summarize: the winegrowers of the prestigious appellations produce a limited amount of wine each year, which means that bottles are reserved very early for regular customers, restaurants, wine merchants and friends. Speculation, who are specialists some sites like Idealwine, allows collectors to purchase bottles that are put back on the market when restaurants close, collectors die, or choose to light their cellars during their lifetime. This gray market penalizes growers and enriches speculators.
“A real problem of transparency”
To deal with this, a technological solution called “Cruated” came to disrupt the market in the spring. “We really felt there was a need for change in this industrysays Alfonso de Gaetano, a wine-loving Neapolitan engineer based in Dubai who has worked for Google for a long time. The founder of Cruated, he felt the tide change: “Before, the distribution was done in a very traditional way and there was a lot of anger: on the one hand from consumers who couldn’t get hold of the bottles and on the other hand from producers who saw that the money was going into the hands. of speculators. Also, there is a real problem of transparency in the way wines are bought and resold in sales halls and auction sites. Warning: to do business with Cruated, you need to have a lot of money. But unlike other sites, here the difference goes back to the manufacturer.
Take the case of Charles Lachaux. Winegrower in Burgundy, his business has experienced spectacular growth in recent years. Voted the best young winemaker in the world by the Golden Vines Awards in 2021, his wines are sought after everywhere. “We have bottles that have gone from 40 euros to 2,500 euros in two years. This can be explained in different ways: the appreciation of Burgundy has increased a lot, the lack of wines also plays a big role in this, and then our wines are appreciated at the Elysée! There were some escapees,” says the professional. The problem: if Charles Lachaux didn’t curb this price increase, his bottles would only be consumed by a small circle of privileged people. “We only make 12,000 bottles a year in the trade, but 85% of that volume goes to catering, where bottles sell for €80 to €100, so they remain accessible. The rest are sold on Cruated at a high price. When it sells high, the temptation to sell to speculate is weaker because the margin will be lower. The very wealthy consumer will pay dearly for their bottles on this site, but these funds allowed me to change my cultural practices in the trade.
“Certificate of Ownership”
If you’re interested, a bottle from this winemaker sold as a shandy at Cruated costs between €600 and €800, or €3,600 for six. “We have negotiated the distribution percentage in advance, so there is no speculation,” continues the winemaker. Notably, every bottle that passes through this site is traceable by an NFT (for “Nun-fungible sign”) that proves a certain amount of information that will be of interest to collectors: “It is a certificate of ownership which explains that such a person bought the bottle at a time T, that it left the warehouse on such a day. When consumed, it must be scanned by its owner, who guarantees that it has been consumed and not resold. This technological solution now attracts the best, as evidenced by the site catalog: Domaine de Montille in Burgundy, Domaine Hubert Lignier in Burgundy, Domaine Bérèche & Fils in Champagne, Château Latour, Château Cheval blanc, Château Margaux in Bordeaux…
In six months, Cruated has accumulated 1,500 members and 12 million euros in turnover. From this number, “The largest part of this income goes to the producers”, says the app’s CEO. “Some customers sometimes say: I can no longer drink my bottles, on the other hand they have the means to buy them, to resell them! continues Charles Lachaux. These buy to put in the cellar, not to drink, and it is this system that must be abolished. It is done.