South African winemakers using holograms to tackle fraud

23rd September 2014 - Fine Cut

Bottles of wine that originate from South Africa are having holograms printed onto their labels to prove their authenticity.

The Telegraph reports some organisations in the country are already adopting the strategy - which utilises imaging similar to that found on paper currency - in an effort to distinguish their goods from the many counterfeit products that continue to flood the market.

In recent months, the issue has been highlighted by several key convictions in this area. In August, one merchant was sentenced to ten years behind bars for faking millions of dollars' worth of vintages, while fake labels were also involved when a man was arrested in Italy for allegedly selling regular wine as Brunello, which is one of the more expensive variations of the drink. 

However, the Cape Winemakers Guild - based in Cape Town - is now leading the offensive to tackle the problem and has already ordered 26,000 labels emblazoned with a 2014 hologram to use on bottles that will be sold during its auction in October.

Speaking to the Telegraph, visiting professor of wine business at the University of Cape Town Michael Fridjhorn said fraud was already "extensive" across the industry, particularly where the products are deemed to be collectable.

He also noted the hologram strategy was a step in the right direction, adding: "Given the escalation of wine prices generally and the fact that no one envisioned this problem 30 years ago, even with the most prestigious wines, it’s probably prudent."

"You frankly can’t trust the auction houses anymore; they don’t do enough to check on provenance."

This trend demonstrates the increasing value manufacturers are recognising in their labels, experimenting with new functionalities to get the most out of their packaging.

Holograms aren't the only method used to combat counterfeit goods, either. Last month, researchers in the US revealed details of a project they were working on that involved the mass production of watermarks onto labels in an effort to identify fake pharmaceutical products in the future.

Posted by Simon Tourle

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