Romania taps Eluceda tech to protect wines from fraud

Romanian wine producers have started using an authentication technology developed by Eluceda to authenticate the provenance of its regional wines and protect drinkers from potential counterfeits.

The National Office of Vine and Vitivinicultural Products (ONVPV), which oversees national vineyard management and winemaking in Romania, has contracted Eluceda to supply security labels with covert taggant markers that can be detected via a unique machine-readable signature.

Eluceda worked with security label company Eltronis on the labels, which build on the existing designs used by the ONVPV and combine a hologram as an overt security feature with the covert taggant technology.

The partners say the labels can easily be authenticated in the field, for example on store shelves, using one of Eluceda's pocket-sized Reveal detectors.

Romania has a long history of wine production and ranks fifth among European countries for areas under vine after Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, and 13th worldwide.

While it has lagged its powerhouse European rivals in terms of exports, Romania has seen volumes shipped to other countries soar in the last few years, fuelled by investment in modernising its production facilities and supply deals with western European supermarkets, mainly in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

With a growing market comes the need to protect products from fraudsters seeking to cash in on that success, with their nefarious activity made so much easier by the growth of e-commerce. 

One sampling study conducted a few years ago found that 45 per cent were either adulterated or suspect, with some bottles laced with sweeteners, dyes, alcohol, water, sugar or other substances added to allow them to be sold for a higher price.

The problem does not seem to have gone away. Earlier this year, Alexandrion Group, the biggest producer and distributor of spirits and wines in Romania, commissioned a video to draw attention to the problem via television and social media channels, saying that "the quantities of counterfeit alcohol that are sold not only in Romania, but internationally…remain very high."

By adding authentication technology to wine bottles, the ONVPV is helping to counter this trend, according to Eluceda.

"We're seeing growth in the use of our covert markers to help protect products of geographic importance, as they provide discrete and instant verification of genuine goods for enforcement officers working in the field," said the UK company's commercial director Richard Burhouse.

"We are delighted to be involved in this project and support progressive organisations such as the ONVPV who continue to invest in security technologies in order to promote their wines and take a clear stand against fraud."

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