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'OIV must embrace the digital revolution to stay relevant’

Published:  26 November, 2021

The director general of the OIV has called upon the global wine industry to more quickly embrace the opportunities afforded by new technologies, in order to stay relevant in a fiercely competitive world.

Speaking at the inaugural symposium on the Digitalisation of the Vine and Wine Sector, Pau Roca, director general of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, said “digital tools and data sciences are driving the most innovative changes seen in our lifetime, transforming societies and the world economy.”

He continued: “It is important to be mindful that these new technologies will offer invaluable opportunities – they will transform viticultural analysis. In order to remain relevant to our stakeholders, we need to expand our influence, reach new horizons and enhance cooperation amongst the main actors.”

Roca added that the OIV needed to accept “a paradigm shift” towards embracing digital innovations.

“The next generation of OIV experts will continue this work, building on the foundations we lay today,” said Roca.

The symposium featured a variety of leading experts in their field, including Olivier Oram, CEO and founder of Chainvine, a digital platform that manages supply chain data. Oram highlighted the enormous benefit of digital track and trace technologies in preventing fraud, and the growing movement to imbed bottles with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect.

Meanwhile, the closures industry is becoming a major proponent of track and trace. E-Wak, launched by Guala Closures in 2018, has the potential to drastically revolutionise the consumer relationship with alcohol brands.

The pioneering technology involves manufacturing a cap that is embedded with a unique, serialised digital identity tag. The tag uses Near Field Communication — a form of contactless communication between devices like smartphones or tablets — to record the ownership of a product throughout the supply chain.

It could be described as a mass-market variation on the Krug ID – just one swipe away is a host of information about the product purchased. SharpEnd, the company Guala Closures partnered with on its e-Wak closures, is building partnerships with spirit brands including Malibu rum, Jameson Whiskey and Absolut vodka to distribute this technology.

“Digital footprints could eventually start in the vineyard – they are truly revolutionary,” said Roca.