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Tamper-Detection Capsule Brings Security and Marketing to Wine Makers

The Domaine Henri Rebourseau winery uses the InTact capsules to protect its brand from counterfeiters by uniquely identifying every bottle of burgundy and detecting whether the capsule has been removed and replaced, to ensure that no bottles have been opened and their wine potentially replaced.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 12, 2016

When European wineries and spirit companies export their high-cost products, they expect the beverages they ship to be the same ones consumed by buyers. But thanks to counterfeiters in Asia and other parts of the world, that's not always the case. Amcor Capsules is selling a solution known as InTact, a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled capsule that can be fitted over a corked bottle of wine or spirits. The capsule stores a unique ID number to authenticate the bottle, and a tamper-evident feature in the NFC tag lets users know if the capsule has been removed. The NFC technology, including tag, software and app, is provided by anti-counterfeiting technology company Selinko.

The InTact capsule not only ensures the authenticity of a bottle of wine, but it can be used with an app to promote the product, thereby providing appropriate content based on whether or not that bottle has been opened. The system works with Selinko's cloud-based content-management software that enables companies to confirm each bottle's authenticity with the tap of a smartphone. Selinko can also provide its Android-based app that businesses can use to push content to consumers' phones.

A wine bottle's authenticity can be confirmed at the tap of a smart phone.
French burgundy winery Domaine Henri Rebourseau, in Gevrey-Chambertin, is already applying the InTact capsules to its products, while other wineries are in discussions to launch the technology as well. Amcor also offers a similar InTact capsule for spirit brands, says Lucie Neubauerova, the company's marketing executive.

Wineries report that counterfeiting is a growing problem as the market for high-value wines expands. According to unofficial industry estimates, about 20 percent of wine sold around the world is counterfeit. This problem is especially prominent in China, where much of the counterfeiting takes place before the product is sold to Chinese consumers. In some cases, counterfeiters acquire an empty bottle and fill it with their own lower-value product, then seal the bottle and sell it as a new product from the wine maker named on the label. This problem cannot be addressed simply by tagging the bottle itself, since the bottle and the capsule may, in fact, be authentic. Therefore, Amcor and Selinko developed a system to determine if a bottle has been opened.

The capsule comes with an NFC chip from a variety of suppliers, says Gwennaelle Festraets, Selinko's marketing and communications VP. The chips can include a product from Inside Secure, such as the Vault IC 154 chip, with asymmetric—or bank-grade—encryption capabilities for high-value products with long lifespans, or a lower-cost chip such as NXP Semiconductors' Mifare chip. The brand owner can select the level of security needed, and thus the appropriate chip to offer that security. Each chip is connected to two antennas. The transmission from one antenna is dedicated to marketing and security ID information, and is coiled around the chip at the top of the capsule. The second is intended to verify that the seal has not been broken, thus authenticating not only the bottle, but the product inside it as well. The latter antenna comes with two tabs that extend down the capsule's side and, therefore, down the side of the bottle's lip. Cutting the capsule to remove it from the bottle destroys that antenna.

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