In the wine world, fraud threatens trust and authenticity. Addressing this is crucial to preserve industry integrity. To fight wine counterfeit, cork is a key weapon, sealing bottles to ensure authenticity and protecting the tradition from deceit.



What is wine fraud ?


Wine fraud encompasses deceptive practices within the wine industry, including misrepresenting the origin or authenticity of a wine and creating fake bottles. It undermines trust by introducing fake or substandard products into the market, often for financial gain. This can involve mislabeling the geographical origin, passing off lower-quality bottles as premium, or producing counterfeit bottles of renowned wines.


Different types of fraud

Such fraud includes mislabeling origins, creating counterfeit bottles, and blending inconsistencies, counterfeiters forge prestigious labels, misrepresent grape varieties, and adulterate wines, and deceptive practices that compromise the authenticity and quality of wines in the market. Addressing wine counterfeit requires industry regulations, technological advancements, and vigilant consumer awareness.


Problems related to wine fraud

Wine counterfeit poses concerns as it leads to financial losses for consumers, erodes trust in the industry, compromises wine quality, and damages the reputation of producers. Addressing fraud is essential to preserve the integrity of the wine market, ensuring consumers can trust the authenticity and heritage of the bottles they purchase.


The impact of expensive wine counterfeiting is far-reaching and affects professionals at every stage of the value chain. Winemakers invest years in cultivating their expertise and crafting their wines, only to see their hard work and reputation tarnished by fake products.


How serious is this problem?

Approximately 20% of the global wine market is believed to consist of counterfeit products, implying that one out of every 5 wine consumers may be unknowingly consuming falsely labeled or fake wine. In the past decade, there has been a notable increase in counterfeit wine, resulting in a substantial financial impact, with global industry losses reaching US$3.18 billion in direct sales.


Why is it important to authentify wine bottles ?


Authenticating wine bottles is paramount for consumer trust. It also prevents financial losses, and safeguards the reputation of the wine industry. Taking action ensures consumers receive genuine products, it maintains the integrity of producers and sellers, guarantees quality, and preserves the rich cultural heritage associated with wines.


Counterfeit wine risks to consumers


  • It can result in financial losses as they unknowingly invest in lower-quality or misrepresented products.


  • It poses potential health risks if it contains unauthorized or harmful substances.


  • It may lead to a negative tasting experience for consumers who expect a certain level of quality.


  • They may inadvertently support illegal and fraudulent activities within the wine industry,


To mitigate these risks, consumers should be vigilant, purchase from reputable sources, and be aware of anti-counterfeiting measures, such as authentication technologies or certification labels, that reputable producers may use.


Wine counterfeit also exposes producers to risks


  • It can tarnish their reputation if consumers unknowingly purchase fake products bearing their brand name.


  • They may suffer financial losses as counterfeiters divert revenue away from the legitimate market.


  • It can lead to market saturation, making it challenging for authentic producers to differentiate their products and compete effectively.


  • Producers may face legal challenges as counterfeiters infringe on trademarks and copyrights.




To mitigate these risks, producers can employ anti-counterfeiting measures to distinguish their genuine products from fake ones.


Wine closures play a pivotal role in ensuring the authenticity of wines. Beyond their primary function as bottle sealers, closures, particularly corks, act as tangible barriers against counterfeit practices. They serve as a seal of authenticity, preserving the integrity of the wine within and guarding against the infiltration of fraudulent products. By securing the bottle, closures contribute significantly to maintaining the genuineness of the expensive wine.


How can cork prevent wine fraud ?


What is cork?

Cork is a traditional and widely used material for wine closures. The process involves harvesting cork bark from cork oak trees, which naturally regenerate, making it a sustainable choice. The bark is carefully processed, and cork stoppers are then created. These stoppers are inserted into wine bottles to seal them. The compressibility and elasticity of cork create an airtight seal, preventing oxygen from entering the bottle and allowing the wine to age gracefully.


The importance of cork for wine bottles

Cork preserves wine integrity by creating a secure, airtight seal that minimizes oxygen exposure, preventing oxidation and maintaining taste and aroma. Its elasticity ensures a snug fit, which reduces contamination risk. The controlled gas exchange through cork allows gradual maturation, enhancing the wine’s complexity over time. In essence, cork closures are vital for protecting wine quality and authenticity during aging.


Security features added to cork to prevent wine fraud

Holographic seals

Holographic seals as a security feature in cork closures involve the incorporation of holographic images or elements into the seal. These holographic features are visually distinctive, intricate, and challenging to replicate using standard printing or copying methods. The holographic seal serves as a visible indicator of authenticity and adds a layer of security to the cork closure.


Unique serial numbers

Using unique serial numbers means assigning individual and distinctive identification numbers to each wine closure. These numbers serve as a specific and traceable identifier for each product.



Tamper-evident technology

This technology in cork closures is designed to provide visible and irreversible evidence if the closure has been tampered with or opened before reaching the consumer. It can include seals, tear-off strips, bands, or other indicators designed to break or show signs of disturbance when the closure is opened. This security measure promises immediate signs of any attempt to tamper with the product, protecting both consumers and producers from the risks of fraud and counterfeiting.




Microprinting is the incorporation of extremely small text or patterns that are difficult to replicate with standard printing methods. It is usually invisible to the naked eye without magnification and its complexity makes it challenging for counterfeiters to reproduce accurately, especially with standard printing equipment. Microprinting may also include hidden information or codes that are only revealed under specific conditions.



UV features

UV features, as a security measure in cork closures, involve incorporating elements such as ink that are visible or change when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. This adds a layer of authentication and detection that is not readily apparent under normal lighting conditions. UV features provide a covert security layer that is not easily detectable without the use of UV light, making it a discreet yet powerful anti-counterfeiting measure.

Some advanced cork technologies


Several innovative cork technologies designed to prevent expensive wine fraud exist. Here are 2 of the best ones.


RFID tags

RFID, or Radio-Frequency Identification, tags are small electronic devices that use radio waves to transmit data wirelessly. They consist of a microchip and an antenna, and they come in various forms, including cards, labels, or even embedded in objects.


When an RFID tag enters an RFID reader’s range, it receives energy and transmits stored data, unlike traditional barcodes. There are two main types of RFID tags: passive, which rely on reader-transmitted energy, and active, with a built-in power source for longer-range transmission. Its advantages include efficiency through automated data collection, superior accuracy compared to manual methods, and versatility for diverse identification and tracking needs.


RFID can be integrated into smart corks. They also often feature NFC technology for easy smartphone access to wine information, temperature sensors for optimal storage conditions, and digital authentication to prevent counterfeiting. Integration with wine tracking apps allows users to maintain a digital inventory and receive personalized recommendations. Smart corks offer a more interactive and secure engagement with the wine-drinking experience.




Cryptoglyph is a brand protection solution involving microscopic particles embedded in materials, creating a covert and machine-readable pattern. These particles, often invisible, provide authentication and identification capabilities when scanned with specialized devices. Cryptoglyph finds applications in various industries to combat counterfeiting and ensure product authenticity, including potential applications in wine labels or packaging.


Cryptoglyph technology boasts several advantages, including covert authentication, machine-readability for efficient verification, diverse applications in multiple industries and inconspicuous integration on products. This ensures enhanced security and authenticity verification. It can also be combined with tamper-proof features for extra safety. Overall, it offers a versatile and robust solution for brand protection against counterfeiting.


It does not require the addition of consumables because it utilizes existing materials, such as ink or coatings, to embed microscopic small dots with visible inks or small holes into the varnish layer, with encoded information. These particles, which are typically invisible to the naked eye, become a part of the material itself during the production process. This means that there’s no need for additional consumables like special inks or coatings to apply Cryptoglyph.


Engraved into wine corks, Cryptoglyph is a good anti-counterfeiting measure. It increases brand protection, instills consumer confidence, provides tamper detection features, enables traceability, and ensures versatility in integration without compromising physical or aesthetic properties. The presence of Cryptoglyph on wine corks serves as a secure and machine-readable authentication, safeguarding both producers and consumers in the wine market.



Wine counterfeit poses risks to consumers and producers, undermining trust and causing financial losses. Authenticating wine bottles is crucial for consumer trust, industry reputation, and cultural heritage preservation. Cork closures can play a vital role in preventing fraud. Some advanced technologies like Cryptoglyph can boost anti-counterfeiting efforts, thanks to efficient tracking and authentication. For more information :


Contact AlpVision

Eager to learn more?

Our team would be pleased to help you


      Quick Info Request