With NFTs to the Metaverse

NFTs are the latest thing for the wine industry. In Germany, two new projects were launched this week, while a pair Italians have paid 2.5 million US$ for a bundle of NFTs including a magnum of NFT Champagne. But are NFTs just a step on the road to the Metaverse?

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Next step Metaverse? (Photo: Deemerwha studio/stock.adobe.com)
Next step Metaverse? (Photo: Deemerwha studio/stock.adobe.com)

NFT Legend Riesling for Jancis Robinson

Weingut Dreissigacker in the Rheinhessen is selling its Legenden 2017 Riesling as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). Produced from the winery's oldest vines, it is exclusively sold in magnum bottles. Dreissigacker dedicates each Legend wine to a different wine legend; the 2017 vintage honours Jancis Robinson.

The corresponding NFT is limited to 300 copies which can only be bought using traditional – fiat – currency, rather than cryptocurrencies. In addition to the wine, the NFT also buys access rights to the Dreissigacker Selected Circle, that gives the NFT holder access to special events.

What are NFTs?

NFTs are unique, non-modifiable digital objects stored on a blockchain, such as certificates of authenticity for works of art. NFTs can convey ownership rights for the associated analogue object. The person who is in possession of the NFT has a subscription right vis-à-vis the issuer, i.e. the winery. He or she can also trade with it. More about NFTs HERE.

NFT for the Reconstruction of the Ahr Region

The initiators of the successful ‘flood wine’ fundraising campaign are also relying on NFTs to help fund reconstruction efforts. By 14 July 2022, the anniversary of the disaster, one of the 99 remaining, hand-numbered, flood wine bottles from the flooded treasury of the Peter Kriechel winery was auctioned off (https://www.niftee.eu/de/title/FLUTWEIN-14). The winning bid – of €30,000 - for the Ahrweiler Rosenthal, Spätburgunder Jahrgang 2012 was made by the German branch of the Zurich Group. The proceeds will go to the ‘AHR - A wine region needs Help for Rebuilding e.V.’ association.

Looking Beyond the Horizon

By comparison with the recent purchase by Giovanni and Piero Buono, the  Ahr wine looks almost like a bargain. The two Italian NFT and fashion entrepreneurs recently paid $2.5 million on a six NFTs: five images and a one-of-a-kind magnum of  Champagne Avenue Foch

Champagne decorated with Swarovski crystals and images by NFT artist Mig who also produced one of the NFT artworks.

Next Step: Metaverse

Whether the price is 30,000 or 2.5 million, will we be soon able to marvel at NFT-backed bottles in the Metaverse? The answer is yes- provided we don’t want to consume the wine. In order to receive the physical bottle of Avenue Foch, the NFT has to be burned. So, as in real life, this is a one-time treat. This is no problem for the Brunos who told the Wall Street Journal that the NFT bundle was bought as an investment.

Meanwhile, the Ahr region is finding its own way into the metaverse: It is planning a museum of modern arts’ that will tell stories from the night of the night and will be available digitally on Ahr Metaversums from August. Analogue objects will be turned into NFTs for this purpose and preserved forever in the blockchain. This may be a way to secure longer-term support for Ahr wine producers from outside Germany? In any case, Kriechel says, the museum should contribute to a "repositioning of the Ahr as a particularly innovative wine region".

What is the Metaverse?

The Metaverse is a kind of internet in 3D, it is supposed to provide special experiences in which users’ avatars can ‘live’ and explore. Behind it there are technologies such as blockchain, AI and XR (extended reality) - and large international corporations which, like individuals, can buy and sell plots of ‘land’ and construct buildings . It is a modern iteration of an earlier platform called Second Life which also attracted participation by big brands and 70m registered users but never quite took off. Even so, according to Web Tribunal, Some 40,000 people currently use it and some 350,000 new accounts are opened every month. Subscription fees are still being paid and, in 2021 Second Life’s GDP was estimated at $600m, with ‘creators’ making around $80m.

Unlike Second Life which was created in 2003 by Philip Rosedale, the Metaverse is not a single entity. In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg declared the development of a metaverse as a commitment for the company previously known as Facebook, and now known as Meta. So, it is possible that sooner or later every wine region could have its own metaverse and/or be part of one or more other metaverses created by giants like Meta and Microsoft.



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