The Future of the Wine Industry: Bit-Coin Style Via Open Vino

It's a pleasure for me to be sharing a space on this blog.I'm Daniela Nebot, I'm a 27 years old wine-loving woman from Argentina. A graduate in tourism and living between vineyards and mountains of Mendoza, the international capital of wine, it could not be otherwise. I will be sharing with you a space for communicating Argentine wines and the latest industry news here in Argentina. 

I would like to begin my collaboration on this site by sharing a story, which for me was indeed novel, especially for having started here in Mendoza. This is about Costaflores and Open Vino, an exciting project of Mike Barrow.

“It is open-source because anyone can reutilize, copy, comment upon, or criticize our practices in the vineyard, in the [winery] and in the business,” Mike Barrow, Costaflores Organic Vineyard WS

Costaflores Organic Vineyard is a relatively small site located in Perdriel, Mendoza, which grows 3 types of grapes Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The owner and wine producer of Costaflores are Mike Barrow. He bought a piece of land here in Mendoza and planted a vineyard. It's important to mention that at the same time Mike was working as an IT engineer in different parts of the world, so when he bought this piece of land he thought in bringing this 2 worlds together: wine and technology.

So he created the first world's open source winery, and this project is called Open Vino.
When they refer to an Open Source winery, what they mean is sharing of all the information they generate in the vineyard, in the winery, and in the business, using low-cost environmental centers, bringing the internet of things to the winery.

The process is not too complicated, the cameras collect the images in the vineyard, the winery and even in the cold storage facilities, and finally, their accounting data is recorded and published. Then everyone can see everything, from the process of making the wine, to how much they spent on the bottle, chorks, salaries, taxes, and transportation, everything is online for anyone to see.

Mike Barrow explains that basically, a company that shares all the intellectual property helps to understand how the actual business is working and could have an interesting effect, because there's is a need for this type of data, to see how this might affect the company in the future.

He thinks that there's no need in hiding this information, cause if anyone comes and sees how they're doing this, plant a vineyard and copy 100% the process, the wine is going to be different anyway. This idea of an open-source winery comes from the open source movement and software, and it's true that they can see a definite advantage in transforming, sharing and connecting with people that are drinking the wine. But the most exciting thing about that is not only the fact that they are sharing all this information but is also that they operate with Cryptocurrency.

Let's explain the cryptocurrency aspect of the operation. In 2018 Costaflores harvested the grapes on the 2nd, 3th and 4th of April, so at the end of April they know how many bottles there will be, and on the 6th of may they issue the equivalent amount of Crypto coins or digital tokens, where each token represents a bottle of wine, the same as bitcoins, but for wine. Mike explained that they're doing this in this way because they want the marketplace to decide the price of the wine because the value of the wine should reflect the quality as well as the supply- demand.

This is an incredible new platform for all consumers, because every year, on 6th may, they do a new token depending on the numbers of bottles they produce from each harvest, so they launch a new initial coin offering for the new vintage. This year the coin is called MTB, "Mike Tango Bravo" which is the name for the wine too.

For 2 weeks the coin offering is open, and anyone can buy tokens in a discount rate, and after a period of time the tokens are available for re-sell on cryptocurrency exchange, so for example if you purchased an MTB token this year, you can sell it soon for a high price on an exchange and earn some profits.

After 3 years the wine is available for drinking after having spent 12 months on oak and stainless steel tanks, and two more years on the bottle. Therefore, on may 6th 2021, the 2018 vintage will be ready to drink and on sale on the website, but the only currency accepted for the purchase is the MTB '18 cryptocurrency token.

You can chose to buy a token as a way to drink the wine or to re-sell the wine for shops or restaurants in other currency, or just exchange it for other cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, or maybe only as a way to give some delicious organic wine gift to friends or family around the world. In this way, people can speculate on the value of the wine.

The purpose of this innovation in the way of operating is to improve the quality of the wine, to optimize the methods of doing things and to experiment with new technologies, automating process, not from the perspective on how to earn more money, but in the way on how to learn new things in the vineyard.

Mike thinks that there's is a lot of exciting projects and products that are coming out of the blockchain space, but people want something tenable, and cryptocurrency must have some relation to things that people can understand, and the world of wine is something that we all understand.

What is expected is that with open vino project it change the dynamic of a company and, ends in an active, transparent business model and communication with the consumers to make them feel part of the process.

The project of Open Vino and Costaflores also introduce the "bio-digital certification" with an organic way to produce their wines, which has a much lower impact of the environment, in the sense that they're not using pesticides or anything, and in the winemaking process is the same, people working assume a lot of things about the organic certification.

This certification, obviously requires that there's trust in the producer and in the process. With the Open Vino Project, Costaflores can sell certification, which is called 'bio-digital' certification, and this is possible because they're putting out all the information for anyone to see, from camera images to data collecting in the vineyard and winery, so everybody knows what they're doing,and the blockchain valid this information.

Another novelty thing to add, is the slogan "You drink it, you own it," which means that the Open Vino breaks ground by paying the customer for their feedback, so in exchange for the information consumers will provide, they pay with actual shares in the company.
The future has reached the wine industry, and we're ready to welcome it.

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