The Italian Wine Crypto Bank (IWCB) made its debut this April at Vinitaly. Founded by Rosario Scarpato in 2020, IWCB is the first wine bank in the world built on blockchains and cryptocurrency. It’s a revolutionary project whose mission is to promote fine Italian wines internationally in a way that is quickly winning over a traditional sector. Sommelier and chief wine value analyst of Italian Wine Crypto Bank, Anna Paclet, explains more.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, a special type of token that represents proof of ownership and a certificate of authenticity of a unique, digital and/or physical asset.
Is the introduction of NFTs linked with the wine world a brand-new thing?
Yes, it is. Picture a woman sommelier visiting historic wineries to talk about digital finance and a marketplace where you can only purchase wines using cryptocurrency. You can buy the wine and have it immediately, or invest by storing the wine in the world’s first digital cellar, which is poised to have a disruptive effect on wine collecting worldwide at all levels.
How do NFTs work in relation to the wine world?
As part of the IWCB project, one label from the participating wineries is minted as a NFT. Artist Gianluca Biscalchin created the artwork for a set of NFTs dedicated to six Tuscan wines comprising the “Catch 22” collection, in which there are 22 fine, rare Italian wines in magnums, each minted in 22 models. Every NFT in the collection contains a code to redeem a magnum of the connected wine. That way, the NFTs continue to have a life even after the wine has been enjoyed.
So, NFTs are a way to promote wine?
Yes, NFTs are proving themselves to be a new way of marketing wine with an innovative tool that is undergoing huge expansion, which allows wineries to increase loyalty among collectors of both wine and digital assets, as well as also bringing fine wines closer to the metaverse. Events are helping to drive the change in the press and among the general public, as demonstrated by the incredible interest shown in the Dubai debut of an NFT for a three-Michelin-star chef like Heinz Beck, linked with his dine wine and art experience, which went on to be “destroyed”, but lives on in eternity in the 35 NFTs. IWCB curated the wine selection for the dinner and marketed the event alongside Crypto Dinewineart.
An innovative project requires an early adopter. Who was yours?
Castello di Fonterutoli owned by Marchesi Mazzei was one of the first wineries to embrace the visionary project of the Italian Wine Crypto Bank, showing how a historic and traditional Tuscan wine company can look to the future, to Generation Z, that is, tomorrow’s consumers. At Vinitaly, the Mazzei family presented Siepi18, the NFT of an iconic wine: Siepi IGT Toscana Rosso 2018 from Castello di Fonterutoli, which is part of the exclusive Catch 22 collection.
Which other wineries are involved?
Italian Wine Crypto Bank now works with more than 40 of the most prestigious wineries in Italy, including Argiano, Castello di Fonterutoli, Planeta, Podere Il Carnasciale, Tasca d’Almerita, Tua Rita, Tenuta di Trinoro, Passopisciaro, Banfi, Barone Ricasoli, Cortese Giuseppe, Gianni Gagliardo, Fontanafredda, Joaquim and Tenuta Setteponti.
Generation Z will soon be able to buy wine using cryptocurrency, but how do you avoid variations in the value of digital currency?
IWCB has its own token, which is stabilized based on the value of the wine linked to increasing value. All the wines in the Italian Wine Crypto Bank portfolio are selected by an original algorithm, which must meet variables such as the longevity required by collector’s wines and the wine’s market value, so that wines are pinpointed that develop a constantly increasing rating as they age.
What’s on the horizon for IWCB?
The work of the Italian Wine Crypto Bank might only have just begun, but it’s already making an impact. The bank is starting to develop NFTs with leading figures in the Italian wine world like educator Filippo Bartolotta and has signed an agreement with top Florentine restaurateurs for a bistecca alla Fiorentina NFT. Last but not least, there’s a plan to have wines in a purely digital format in the ever-growing metaverse, where luxury sectors, such as fashion, are investing heavily.