Crypto Trend: Wine & Whiskey NFTs

Abstract image of wine glass with wine in the form of a constellation, consisting of lines and points.
IgorShishov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

NFTs — non-fungible tokens — have been on a tear this year. The term has even been named Collins’ Word of the Year 2021. While they first garnered interest in the art world (Christie’s sold Beeple’s NFT for $69.34 million in March) they are not limited to the space. And now, the wine and liquor industry wants a piece of the crypto cake too.  

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Trading in NFTs climbed to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of more than 700% from the previous quarter, according to a report by blockchain analytics firm DappRadar.

“Rare works of art — and rare bottles of wine and liquor — have been collected and traded for centuries,” Alex Salnikov, co-founder and head of product at NFT marketplace Rarible, told GOBankingRates.

“But until recently, a fully digital economy of ownership and exchange hasn’t existed. NFTs enable this new system for anyone with a passion to open new financial and creative avenues for collectors of rare items. As the digital world evolves, NFTs have also developed utility components, enabling consumers to enjoy experiences paired with their collectibles,” he added.

Building Wealth

For example, BlockBar, an NFT marketplace that connects consumers and collectors with the owners of luxury wine and spirits brands, will sell a limited edition NFT with a set of The Dalmore Decades No.4 Collection on Dec. 7.

“The NFT corresponds to the physical bottles stored in BlockBar’s facility in Singapore. These NFTs can be “burned” or exchanged for the physical bottle it corresponds to or resold as a means of investment through the blockbar.com marketplace,” Dov Falic, Founder of BlockBar, told GOBankingRates.

This asset-backed NFT from the BlockBar platform benefits the buyer by guaranteeing authenticity and ownership verification, as well as offering a storage solution and handling insurance, he added. The winning buyer will have the opportunity to pay in either crypto or fiat and doesn’t have to ship the collection until they would like to receive it, and that’s anywhere in the world. The other option is for the buyer to put the collection up for sale on the blockbar.com marketplace for any collectors to purchase without the physical product moving from our storage facility.

Building Wealth

“In short, the NFT serves as proof of authenticity, verification of ownership and the right to have the collection redeemed at any time,” he added.

And this trend is quickly growing. On Dec.2, Robert Mondavi launched the Robert Mondavi Winery x Bernardaud NFT collection, an offering addressing the global issue of counterfeit wine by employing a scannable authentication system, according to a release.

Michal Cymbalisty, co-founder of decentralized exchange Domination Finance, told GOBankingRates that the trend is picking up steam as “it’s all about ownership.”

“The same way artists and creators are able to open and own their digital galleries with proof of ownership through the blockchain, alcohol aficionados can build their collections through NFTs,” Cymbalisty said. “This is where digital assets meet the real world. What is better than owning a rare, highly coveted bottle or barrel of booze? Owning a one-of-a-kind token that proves you’re the owner of said booze. These NFTs also let you easily show off your collection.”

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Other Benefit of Buying Wine & Whiskey NFTs

A key benefit to investors is that they can buy and sell NFTs of collectible wines and whiskeys without ever physically possessing or storing the bottles themselves, Cymbalisty shared.

“Going one step further, if these NFTs are fractionalized, it could allow for larger groups of people to invest in or speculate on rare bottles that they otherwise not be able to afford,” he said.

And that’s just what happened with Blockbar’s November sale of a limited edition NFT tied to a rare Penfolds Magill Cellar 3 barrel of wine made from vintage 2021, which was sold to a small group of investors in 12 seconds for $130,000.

Alex DiNunzio, co-founder and CEO of Jambb, a digital comedy collectibles startup giving comedians the opportunity to create additional revenue streams from their content through NFTs, echoed the sentiment, saying that “collectors are not only purchasing NFTs of the entire product, but are able to purchase part of it with fractionalization.”

“This allows people who ordinarily would not be able to participate to get in on the action and engage more deeply with their favorite brands,” he said.

Discover: How To Invest In Collectibles, Art, Wine, Shoes and More

Are These Investments Worthwhile?

In terms of whether these investments are worthwhile, several experts note that they should be seen through the same lens as collecting artwork.

“For centuries, collectors have been able to store their wealth and watch it appreciate in value through artwork, fine wine, whiskey, collectibles and the like — now in the era of NFTs and digital asset ownership, those same funds and wealth can be redistributed in value through an NFT, or a digital asset,” Although we cannot give specific investment advice, being alongside the next wave of digital provenance and asset ownership through NFTs have proven to be worthwhile for many.”

An additional benefit is that through digital asset ownership, people can trade, store and sell collectibles in a cost-efficient and secure way using blockchain technology, as NFTs allow for the value of digital assets to be utilized in a way that makes sense for collectors and connoisseurs of fine wine, according to Tobias Batton, CEO and founder of blockchain game publisher Ex Populus.

“For example, if a collector owned a bottle of 1947 French Cheval-Blanc and wanted to see its value — roughly $304,000 — redistributed through an NFT, that NFT can be used to trade against the value for other items, stored safely without the risk of theft and even become fractionalized so that it is owned by a community of collectors instead of just one person,” Batton told GOBankingRates.

Learn: All You Need To Know About Collecting Social Security While Still Working

Is Wine & Whiskey NFT-Buying a Fleeting Trend?

But is the future of a wine or whiskey NFT instead of a good bottle a trend that will stay? According to several experts, the answer is yes.

Batton said that the future and possibilities of use cases for Web3, DeFi and NFTs are unmatched.

“It is quite possible that we may witness a world where digital asset gifting and sharing becomes the everyday norm. These NFTs of bottles add utility for rare and expensive alcohol, and it would be much easier to give someone an NFT than to gift wrap a fragile bottle. However, if you plan to drink the alcohol, then the NFT isn’t worth anything, as it loses its value when the physical asset does, such as when you open a bottle of vintage wine,” Batton added.

And brands will also continue to capitalize on the new revenue stream.

Rarible’s Salnikov, said that while NFTs won’t replace the traditional sale of alcohol, “I anticipate that we will continue to see more alcohol brands expand into the crypto market through NFTs as engagement with blockchain technology remains on the rise.”

Other Perks You Get When You Buy These NFTs

In addition to what brands can offer thanks to blockchain technology, including authentication, security and provenance – alcohol NFTs offer “an experience.”

An example may be a French winemaker selling bottles of NFT-equipped wine, featuring a QR code that unlocks a personal video of them talking about the provenance and history of the wine’s place of origin, and why this particular bottle of wine has special meaning and value, Salnikov said.

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“That NFT could also unlock an invitation to an exclusive dinner or sampling session organized by the winery, for instance – all while serving as proof of ownership stored on an immutable public ledger,” he added. “NFTs are already starting to facilitate consumer experience never before possible, while the technology will present many more unique use cases as it advances. We expect it to completely transform the concepts of brand loyalty and consumer trust and are so excited to be a part of this change.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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