Selinko, Toppan tie-up to protect wine from counterfeiters

Anti-counterfeiting company Selinko has joined forces with security printing firm Toppan to market a cork-tampering detection device for wine bottles in Europe.

Top Burgundy winemaker Domaine Emmanuel Rouget has already signed up to access the technology as the first client.

The device, which provides "efficient protection" against the problem of bottle refilling, can detect "any attempt to remove, tamper with or even pierce the cork of a wine bottle", the firms said in a statement.

Bottle refilling for the counterfeit market is a growing threat to the wine industry. Experts estimate that counterfeit wine accounts for 20 per cent of international sales.

The device works by combining a Toppan sensor coupled with an radio frequency identification (RFID) / near field communication (NFC) tag, powered by Selinko's object identification platform and a mobile application for authentication and consumer engagement.

The sensor, which detects any attempt to tamper with the cork, is located on the top of the bottle, below the capsule, while the NFC tag is located on the bottle neck.

Using an NFC-enabled smartphone to tap the NFC tag, bottles can be verified as genuine, with access to information on the winery and grape. Meanwhile, a message on the mobile app can confirm the integrity of the bottle's content and alert whether the cork has been tampered with.

According to the firms, the digital certificate contained in the NFC tag is protected by an encryption technique certified against the highest worldwide certification standard, Common Criteria EAL5+ level, which is the same level of security in biometric passports and bank cards.

Besides content authentication, the technology also allows for supply chain integrity by assigning a target market during the production of each bottle, where the consumer becomes the final point in the chain. Scanning information by the consumer is sent to a secured platform, which tracks the bottle's movements and identifies any deviations from the geographical area initially assigned to the bottle.

Patrick Eischen, chief executive of Selinko, said the partnership provided a two-pronged approach to dealing with counterfeiting. "The Toppan device offers strong protection against bottle opening, bottle reuse and cork piercing. Selinko's application allows easy control by professionals and direct authentication by consumers, which guarantee them a higher value for their bottles."

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