Wine traceability – Anti-counterfeiting and Marketing - Winery 4.0
Blog 20/10/2021

Wine traceability – Anti-counterfeiting and Marketing - Winery 4.0


Italy can count itself as one of the most fascinating, magical countries in the world, loved and chosen by thousands of tourists who decide to visit the beautiful country each year to enjoy breathtaking views, places of great historical and cultural importance, and find the perfect combination of sea, mountains, culture and agri-food delicacies.

If there is another thing besides the beauty of the landscapes and architecture for which our land holds a particular fascination and makes it famous throughout the world, it is undoubtedly the agri-food industry, one of Italy’s prized assets.

Not only is the Italian beverage and food sector a manufacturing and economic sector of great importance, but it is also a symbol and a brand that is renowned in all countries throughout the world, seen as a benchmark for fine cuisine and all that goes with it.

It is just because this is such a key sector in our country, a source of pride that is held in high esteem worldwide, that solutions need to be adopted to improve and boost the level of quality in the sector so that in the future it can be allowed to become an even more pronounced and more robust symbol of excellence than it already is.

Over the years, a great deal of attention has been placed on the various issues involved in optimising all processes that involve any food items and which, together, characterise products bearing the Made in Italy mark.

Careful controls of the entire production process enable us to benefit from a finished product that meets the high standards that distinguish our products to perfection, thus allowing us to export the Italian brand and quality in the best possible manner.

The continual development of technology, which is now an integral part of our lives, has generated manifold advantages in this respect, with new production methods replacing traditional ones and increased the workload that can be carried out.

Technology has now managed to occupy a key position even in the agri-food sector, gradually leading to the emergence of the contemporary agriculture 4.0. The arrival of new technological systems in the world of agriculture and agri-food production, with increasingly advanced machinery, allows producers to increase production, but not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of quality.

Advanced systems now make it possible to control each single action in the production process step by step, from the comfort of any location, at any time, in a manner that may be termed fully smart.

This interconnection of technological systems based on IoT, or the Internet of Things, which is an ally in the improvement in almost all aspects of the agri-food sector, is able to elevate the quality of Italian products, taking Made in Italy to another level.


The importance of fusing digital and traditional

When talk is of food, wine, farming or agriculture, it may not be immediately apparent that there is a link to technology and the digital world, and we forget how essential it really is to create the right combination of tradition, the present and the future.

The world of today is grounded in technology, digital is a constant, fundamental part of our daily lives, and it is right that it should also form part of those sectors that are wrongly attributed as being traditionalist and manual.

Integration of technology in the agri-food sector, however, should not take place just because we are in an era of digitalisation, making it seem a though the step should be mandatory, rather it is very important to see the enormous potential and possibilities that digital can generate in these types of organisations.

All companies who decide to integrate digital into their production processes will be able to reap huge management rewards, such as storage of goods, and improved resource management, with considerably large savings. They will also be able to rely on systems that analyse a range of environmental factors, such as optimal days for harvesting in vineyards to be able to draw out higher quality wines, prevent diseases or establish optimal levels of irrigation required by the soil.

Marketing in the agri-food sector, especially the wine-making sector, will also need to go digital, the only way for the sector to have a future that will live up to expectations.
Wineries 4.0 is no longer just an abstract idea that people talk about, but is now a host of well established, innovative companies that have taken advantage of the huge potential provided by digital technologies and have made leaps in improvement in all areas.

It is thus been established that technological innovation can and should have a positive impact on the agri-food industry, resulting in significant improvements in various aspects of a product, such as taste, aroma, traceability, assurance of provenance, and production methodology.

Wineries 4.0, digitalisation even for winemakers: the internet of wine is already the here and now

Of the entire agri-food sector that we have mentioned thus far, there is one sub-sector that particularly stands out and is extremely important – the wine production chain.

Indeed, the Italian wine industry is one of the most visible, internationally prominent markets that extends from East to West with no boundaries or limits. Italian wine is ranked as one of the most esteemed and prized in the world, capable of tallying up the highest number of Italian exports abroad, as well as 50% of the turnover in the agri-food sector.

This is why the Italian wine sector is one of the undeniable cornerstones in our country, which must be safeguarded and supported at all costs, using all the methods at our disposal.

Wine production is a process that includes manifold steps, it is very often laborious and demanding, and these steps make it difficult to keep quality standards at the highest of levels, which is why wine labelled as Made in Italy is ranked as being the most popular.The production of a bottle of Italian wine involves the transformation from raw material, i.e. grapes, to finished and usable material, packaging and marketing. All wine producers are continually facing manifold challenges, beginning with the earliest stages of production, but these challenges may best be dealt with by relying on technology and digital.

By using the full potential and principles of IoT in the wine sector, farms can transform their entire production process into true smart, intelligent autonomous systems, capable of providing information on all aspects of the vineyard, allowing them to decide on which strategy to implement for optimum cultivation, set varying harvesting cycles, and many other features.

IoT technologies, via the application of suitable sensors, can notify farmers of all climatic or environmental hazards, factors that would have a significant impact on the success of a good-quality wine year.

Vineyards can thus benefit from precision planters, which optimise cultivation yields by relying on a variety of technologies such as drones, weather stations and soil sensors. These devices are essential for the continuous recording of data on moisture, soil-borne diseases, nitrogen content, biomass index and even electrical conductivity of soils.

Analysis and processing of data will then allow farmers to have a 360-degree view of the state of affairs in vineyards, providing all the accurate information required to apply fertiliser, adjust irrigation plans, whether to carry out fungicide or herbicide applications, with optimised quantities that have been calculated using IoT intelligence.

IoT applications are not only to be found in vineyards. They are expanding their potential benefits to cellar, to control, monitor and manage ageing and storage of wine in the best manner possible. Each winegrower has firm grasp on how the essential elements such as humidity, lighting and temperature in a wine cellar create top-quality wines.

To meet the needs of farmers, by integrating IoT into cellars all of the above parameters can be monitored remotely, at all times of the day. If the data show any signs of deviation, the person in charge will be able to intervene instantly for correction purposes before the changes are able to cause serious damage to the quality of the wine.

From the vineyard to wine marketing – a 360-degree Wine Tech view.

However, the wine production chain does not only concern the more manual and traditional side of the business, such as work in the vineyard or the subsequent refining of the
wine, but also includes other steps that are more of a managerial and marketing nature.

An essential step in the entire wine production process is bottling, transportation and subsequent distribution of the product, as well as communication, which is essential in ensuring good sales.

Here, over the years there has been a trend that is seeing consumers paying more and more attention to all aspects of product quality, from the care taken in creating a label and the data included on it, to the type of bottle and the many additions that can be made to it.

In this respect, consumers have become more discerning about what they purchase. They require a product that gives them a greater sense of quality, attention to even the minutest of details and, of course, safety.

The entire wine sector has been compelled to adopt new communication strategies, to focus on the quality, not only of the wine, but of all the packaging included, the brand and the services provided, to guarantee that customers receive a true consumer experience.

Here, we are talking about marketing and advertising communication. Factors, that until a few years ago, only the largest of companies in the sector had to deal with. Today, however, needs to be a fundamental, indispensable inclusion for every wine business and entrepreneur, capable of making a difference in terms of sales.

Here too, IoT is the farmers’ ally. Cobots - collaborative robots - and robots that enable optimal packaging and storage of wine bottles can be taken advantage of, not to mention perhaps the most important aspect, namely the option of producing new types of label using 3D printing techniques.

A wine label is the new business card of a bottle of wine, a feature that most often may tip the balance in favour of the consumer buying the product. This is why smart labels are increasing in popularity. They allow for the introduction of key, interactive data and information, such as tracking and certified provenance of the product. Guaranteeing bona fide wine provenance and production tracking considerably raises product quality, further consolidating the Made in Italy mark.
In this case, technology provides winemakers with devices such as RFID sensors, i.e. Radio Frequency IDentification, which allow consumers to be aware of the entire tracking history of a particular bottle, or the NFC system, i.e. Near Field Communications, which are key in guaranteeing bona fide quality and health statuses of wines.



An example of NFC technology that has been integrated into the world of wine is thermochromic labels, which pick up on the most sensitive temperature variations, to which wine is particularly subject. By adopting these types of technologies for wine production, all issues arising from the counterfeiting of Made in Italy products will be prevented, ensuring complete transparency of the entire production process and underscoring company focus on the consumer, in addition to its awareness in guaranteeing the highest standards in quality.

The tools provided by IoT technologies not only guarantee that all legislative regulations and compliance with the law are met, all of which wineries are subject to, but they also add enormous value to company brands, which can then be used as a strength towards successful marketing campaign strategies.