There is little doubt that the pandemic has delivered a shattering blow to smaller, specialist vineyards that rely on restaurants and holiday makers for the bulk of their trade. Technology offers an effective remedy however by making wine trading easier, quicker and more transparent.
Prior to the pandemic, wine sales had been increasing steadily. New consumers and growing sales figures pointed to an industry in rude health.
The truth of course was a little more complicated. The big producers were indeed doing well, enjoying economies of scale and producing high-volume, consistent product that could line global supermarket shelves year in year out.
There were problems for smaller producers, however. No matter how good the wine, small volume, specialised products produced by artisans do not tend to lend themselves to supermarkets’ consistency requirements.
Without access to the supermarket shelves, small producers have become reliant on sales from two places over the last few years: restaurants and holiday makers.
The trouble is that the pandemic and its associated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have closed the restaurants and forced holiday makers to stay at home.
This means that despite global wine sales growing, smaller, specialist vineyards that were starting to struggle in 2019. As the pandemic enters its second year, these struggles are turning into significant difficulties.
Many industries, including the restaurant trade and tourism, are facing problems at the moment, but there are existing markets of both consumers and investors that have a proven appetite for fine wine. Vineyards simply need to find a way to access them, but they need to do it in a way that they avoid spending so much time finding innovative routes to market that the quality of the wine suffers.
Perhaps we can help
It doesn’t need to be the end of the world though. The team at WiV has developed a platform for distributing and trading fine wine that keeps costs low and creates new global opportunities for vineyards that may not traditionally have been able to reach very far beyond their own region. We’ve used our knowledge of wine and our experience with technology to make the process as simple and intuitive as possible. We want to let vineyards can focus on their vines rather than their marketing.
Our platform enables vineyards to create non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for bottles and cases of fine wine, so that they can be traded with a global audience simply, transparently and cost-effectively.
There is a lot of excitable talk about NFTs at the moment, but they can be the perfect vehicle for a product such as wine where every bottle is unique. We discussed them in a bit more detail in this recent article , but in short, NFTs make it possible to create a market for wine that offers fair value for the producer, the trader and the consumer, and makes it far easier to manage bottles as they go though their journey from grape to cellar.
Simplifying finance and signposting a route to market
It’s an approach that also makes it easier for vineyards to access funding, a traditionally very complicated process given the long production times involved in growing grapes and maturing wine. We are confident in our service and offer vineyards an opportunity to bring us an entire vintage for us to manage. This gives them far earlier access to finance than has traditionally been the case.
Finding a market for a wine can be a complicated, time consuming process. Our global network creates a simple path consumers all over the world. It also removes much of the bureaucratic burden and marketing rigmarole from the producer’s to-do list. This lets vineyards focus on what they do best: produce exceptional wine.
The economic conditions are exceptionally difficult for some vineyards, but there are approaches that will help wine producers of all sizes find new markets and continue to play their important role in local communities.
We genuinely believe that wine has a unique place in global culture. It should be celebrated and given the best opportunity to thrive.
WiV Technology is the global leader for turning fine wine into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The award winning WiV NFT Platform enables wine producers and collectors to instantly buy, sell and borrow money against their wine, giving them rapid access to finance without having to endure extensive bureaucratic processes. For further information, go to www.wiv.io