Approximately 6.5 litres of pure alcohol per person per year is globally consumed. The Indian Alcohol market is valued at 3.9 lakh crore but such a huge industry is facing a threat in the form of spurious alcohol and counterfeits in the market. Let’s look at how alcohol is produced, the market and its fake products, and how this is solved with wine supply chain traceability.
The market and its supply chain
The global alcohol market amounts to 1674 Billion USD and its largest segment is Beer with a volume of 645.40 Billion USD. The market is set to grow at 6.78% CAGR annually by 2025. India on the other hand is the fastest growing alcohol beverages market in the world with a similar CAGR of 6.8%.
According to 2019, National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “85.6 percent of people ages 18 and older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime”
The wine market is anticipated to be worth US$ 513.8 billion in 2022 and US$ 846.3 billion by 2032. Between 2022 and 2032, the overall sales of wine are anticipated to soar at a CAGR of 5.1%. Today, the world market is adopted by all age groups, starting from youngsters to old age, this has been a primary driver for the rapid market expansion in recent decades.
India has a significant share of revenue through wine production. It is estimated to grow by 274 Million USD from 2021-2026. There is also a rise in consumer preference for different flavours, textures and rare wines.
Wine supply chain
Both alcohol and wine have a similar supply chain system, which is divided into producers, distributors and retailers. People who grow grapes are on top, descending into suppliers, wineries, and manufacturers furthermore it extended into the marketing and logistics aspects which include middlemen, wholesalers and retailers inclusive of MRP outlets, restaurants, bars, etc.
Winemaking is a craft and the roundness of its taste is derived from the processes it goes through to be filled inside of a bottle. It all starts with the growing and harvesting of the grapes.
There is a difference in taste depending on the region from where the grapes are grown. Grapes are grown all around the year depending on the region and climate conditions.
Once the grapes are grown, harvest is done based on the taste requirement that is to be achieved in a later stage. To obtain grapes with lower amounts of sugar, white wine and sparkling wine grapes are chosen first. Afterward, red wine grapes are harvested. Finally, since these sweet wines are prepared from grapes that have frozen on the vine, grapes for ice wines are selected.
As seen in movie and vineyard experiences, the process of crushing or stomping the grapes to extract the juice is a pretty ancient method. Today machines like de-stemmer and filters are used to remove stems, pressed, rack and dislodged them before the fermentation begins.
It is in this process that wine is produced or made. Through fermentation, the grape juice turns into wine. A few taste alterations and alcohol content is also determined in this stage. Yeast is added to produce carbon dioxide which helps combine with the sugar to convert into alcohol, this can also result in the final taste being flat or tannic.
Wine is not consumed or bottled right after fermentation, it is left alone to age. This aging process may take place between 6 months to 30 months, and might also be kept longer. This also depends on the type of barrel used, stainless steel, brass, oak, charred, bottled, etc.
The process of bottling the wine is also a thought-out process. It is bottled in different coloured glass bottles which helps to filter out UV rays which can speed up the oxidization of the wine. The traditional cork has its benefit while various alternatives like synthetic, capped, grainy, helix, etc. are available.
While wine is produced almost in all parts of the world, Italy, France and Spain contribute for the most part.
Challenges in the Wine supply chain
Great care is provided to the taste of the wine and hence the origin of grapes and the time of supply become very important. This critical feature of wine is its downfall. As there are designated places of origin that the wineries have to depend on, it becomes a fragile supply chain when a dependency is created which can affect the entire supply chain making it unpredictable and irregular.
- As planting grapes and turning them into wine takes place at different places and at different intervals, a gap has been created between the suppliers and wineries. This resulted in the over and undersupply of grapes. Every year, about 12 million tons of grape waste is produced.
- Consumers’ tastes and preferences change from time to time, which is a regular supply chain that can be altered quickly but in the process of winemaking, the lead time to produce and manufacture is comparatively more and thus forecasting wine preference is a tricky task.
- A few more challenges in production are, that there only is a tiny window for alteration of wine once the production begins, seasonal workers are not easily available, long lead time to be produced, and logistics can be tricky and difficult.
- Excessive use of preservatives, adulteration and counterfeit is prevalent in the wine supply chain
- Lack of transparency and collaboration among the various stakeholders pose a serious threat in the wine industry.
Solutions with traceability
Today the need for traceability isn’t just a luxury, it’s a need. Global markets for trade and mighty volumes have brought in regulators, organizations and consumers showing interest in the craft.
Traceability serves the need to trace the entire supply chain for various needs.
As the wine market is fragile and filled with counterfeits and illicit trades and hence, it is important to provide provenance to consumers about the source of what they are drinking.
The advancement in technology is making the products speak, with advanced systems that can monitor and control every action in the production system to technologies that can manage aging and storage with essential elements of humidity, temperature and lighting. Product recalls
, marketing, distribution and logistics are all implemented with appropriate technology to cater needs of consumers and organizations to help track and trace back wine to its source.
Wine authenticity is very important in quality control and consumer information. Traceability ensures a robust quality assurance system. The grape growers are responsible for production, harvest and delivery of grapes.
The manufacturers are responsible for production, blending of wine products. There are a variety of techniques and processes in which these wines are made, and the compositions matter a lot. Any fraudulence will disturb the parameters and affect the quality of wine. The provenance and authenticity is very crucial in the wine supply chain. End to end traceability solutions assure a credible product with enhanced trust and transparency to the end consumer.
In the recent decade, the use of Blockchain technology in agriculture has increased steadily. Grape producers and wineries are also adopting this secure data exchange implication that brings together the entire supply chain to work towards a single goal.
The craft of making wine is a secret trade and shouldn’t be exposed through blockchain transparency. It is implemented throughout the supply chain starting from the grape growers, wine producers, bulk distributors, transit cellar, finished goods distributors, wholesalers, and retailer entities. The vineyards initiated the genesis block which is then transferred digitally to add additional information in real-time. These blocks are approved by all players in the supply chain creating a safe and foolproof system of data exchange. This might include more than one grape owner, who is put into blocks and linked with further processes.
A separate identification is provided at each stage of winemaking until it reaches the consumer. This acts as a true traceback system that can track and trace products back to their source following the links of created blocks. Therefore validation and provenance are provided by players in the system through Blockchain.
Benefits of Blockchain
- Validates provenance of grapes
- Absence of intermediaries resulting in fair share
- Access to Finance
- Enhanced operational efficiency with reduced costs
- Streamlined processes with inventory management
- Quality control with validated certificates
- Food safety with track and trace systems
- Trustworthy consumer brands
- Regulatory compliance for competitive edge
- Authentic and safe product for consumption
- Consumer engagement nurturing brand loyalty
- Validated sustainability claims
Carbon Footprint of Wine with TraceX solutions
No industry can escape the effects of climate change. According to a study, global warming of 4C would threaten up to 85 % of world’s wine growing regions.
Though grapes are not water intensive, the vineyard activities contribute 40 % to carbon footprint of wine. Most of the carbon footprint is due to transportation and packaging in glass bottles. Wine industry is also labour intensive. Identifying emission hot spots, measuring and reporting with transparency helps to address the climate crisis. TraceX blockchain platform enables efficient carbon management across the wine supply chain ensuring a sustainable planet.
Wine isn’t just a product, it is a culture that has been passed down from ancient times. Some consume it for fun, some for its taste, some for status and some socially. The demand for quality wine is increasing steadily, therefore lots of care and safety is given to provide quality, in type, taste, texture and colour. The fragility of the industry is combined with the latest technological tools and machinery to provide a helping hand to increase safety, production, and quality and decrease waste. There have also been talks about reducing the climate impact that the production of wine is causing.