Can an RFID Tag Be Attached to a Wine Bottle?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan an RFID Tag Be Attached to a Wine Bottle?
RFID Journal Staff asked 8 years ago

If so, are there any complications from working with glass?

—Name withheld

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Yes, an RFID tag can be attached to a wine bottle, but you would not be able to use just any tag. Glass can detune an antenna, and the wine contained within can absorb radio waves, making it more difficult to read a tag. You could use a low-frequency (LF) tag, which is what a company called ThingM did for its solution (see RFID for Wine Aficionados).

You could also attach a high-frequency (HF) tag, which is what Bàcaro, a wine retailer and delicatessen at Zurich Airport, did for an interactive kiosk (see Interactive Wine Kiosk Wows Customers). HF tags were attached to bottles of wine, and an information kiosk was fitted with a computer screen and an RFID interrogator. When a customer picked up a tagged bottle and set it on a small table next to the kiosk, pictures and wine-related information—such as its specific grape, winery and bouquet—then popped up on the kiosk’s screen.

GS1 Hong Kong conducted a pilot in 2011 with two wine importers. For the project, passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags were affixed to bottles, cases and pallets, and the organization was thus able to read tags on bottles (see GS1 Pilot Program Shows How RFID Can Track International Wine Shipments).

Which solution is best? It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish, and specifically on the read distance required. Generally speaking, you should achieve a longer read range from a passive UHF tag, though in the case of a kiosk, this might not be what you want.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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