New smart bottle caps will help detect counterfeit wine

New smart bottle caps will help detect counterfeit wine by giving each bottle a ‘digital birth certificate’ that shoppers can check with a smartphone app

  • A new smart bottle cap will help wine buyers identify counterfeit vintages
  • The cap uses NFC and RFID chips to store a ‘digital birth certificate’
  • Buyers can check the certificate using a smartphone app that communicates with the chips and compares the certificate against a global database

An Australian tech startup is pitching wineries on a new smart bottle cap it says could help identify counterfeit wines.

Called Cellr, the Perth-based company produces plastic caps for wine bottles with both NFC and RFID chips in them.

The chips can be programmed by wineries to contain a unique ‘digital birth certificate’ for each bottle of wine they produce, and buyers will be able to verify the authenticity by using a smartphone app that crosschecks the certificate against a larger database. 

An Australian tech company called Cellr wants to fight back against counterfeit wine with a new smart bottle cap (pictured above) that will transmit a ‘digital birth certificate’ to a smart phone app to verify the authenticity of a bottle’s contents

Cellr is targeting a price of between three and six cents (five to 10 cents AUD) for each cap, and with global wine sales topping $350billion each year, even selling a small percentage of wineries on its technology could lead to big business.

To help the company grow, the Australian government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre has invested $97,750 ($150,000 AUD) in their business, according to a report from ABC News. 

‘The solution needs to be embedded in the bottling process and not something that’s cosmetic,’ Cellr co-founder Chris Braine said.

‘QR codes and stickers on bottles, for example, are … solutions which exist in the market place today and can be copied in the millions.’

‘So we’ve gone about re-engineering the capsule that gets [the technology] embedded with tamper-proof evidence and a binary state — that means we can have a live state and a dead state within a bottle.’

Cellr is targeting a price of between three and six cents per cap, which they’re hoping winemakers will be willing to pay to fight counterfeit wines

Cellr was founded by Chris Braine (pictured above) and has just been given $97,750 in funding from the Australian government to develop their business

Sale of counterfeit wine accounts for around 20 percent of the global industry, with an estimated $70billion in revenue lost each year to fakers

Counterfeit wine accounts for around 20 percent of all wine sold each year, taking an estimated $70billion in revenue away from traditional wine makers.

Counterfeiters typically operate by manufacturing fake labels or refilling old bottles from famous brands, while relying on less valuable grapes from regions where they’re easier to grow in bulk.

According to Braine, Cellr has so far been well received by the wine industry in western Australia and is preparing to launch a pilot program later this year.


  • Stick to buying wines from a shop you know and trust
  • Trust your gut. If a deal seems too good to be true it probably is 
  • If buying expensive wine, either to drink or as an investment, ensure you know and trust the merchant or auction house
  • Giveaway signs can be found on the label, including the paper and printing 
  • Check that all words and phrases are correct, including spelling 
  • Always ensure you do your research – the older a wine is the more hands it will have passed through and the more difficult it will be to trace its origins
  • If the wine in your glass tastes unusual then stop drinking straight away or the true cost could be far greater than to just your wallet 


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