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Chai Vault Launches Standard for Wine and Spirits Authenticity and Provenance in Answer to Widespread Global Counterfeiting and Fraud

San Francisco, September 4, 2019: Chai Vault announces the commercial availability of its revolutionary fine wine and spirits authenticity and provenance solution. Chai Vault is the first anti-fraud solution for wine and spirits that enables trade and end consumers to see demonstrable authenticity and provenance of individual bottles online, before purchase, without needing to be in direct proximity to a bottle to inspect or scan. Chai Vault certification also travels with the bottle as ownership changes maintaining up-to-date provenance and authenticity for the life of the bottle.


Chai Vault certification provides proof of bottle-level authenticity by layering multiple low- and high-tech identifiers as well as individual bottle details captured in inspection. Chai Vault registration of individual bottles occurs either by producers at the time of production, by licensed vendors/importers/distributors with proof of direct provenance in the initial supply chain, or in the secondary market following authentication by a certified The Chai Method® (TCM®) Authenticator. Display of owner information is controlled by the bottle owner. Ledger information can contain owner names or be encrypted for anonymity.


About Chai Vault


Chai Vault is led by CEO Maureen Downey, the foremost global authority on wine and spirits fraud, counterfeit wine and fine wine authentication. She advises the world’s top collectors in purchasing, selling, and managing wine and spirits collections with her firm, Chai Consulting. She assisted the government prosecution in the first and only wine counterfeiting case tried by the U.S. government, and continues to actively work with federal law enforcement on current cases. She can be seen in the Netflix film, Sour Grapes, about the scourge of counterfeit wines.


Following a 20-year career working with fine wines and spirits all whilst combating fraud, Downey states, “I have studied every anti-fraud solution in our industry as well as those of other consumables. None conquer the pitfalls of the opaque markets in which wines and spirits are sold. Most solutions are single layer or cosmetic, many are more marketing than anti-fraud. Each has failed to address all necessary elements to protect consumers, reputable vendors and producers alike. Consumers need independently verified authentic bottles to have investments protected and that must carry through secondary market ownership transfers. Reputable vendors aspire to sell only legitimately sourced, authentic bottles. Producers want authentic bottles in proper condition enjoyed in their good names. Chai Vault certification brings both secure anti-fraud and much needed transparency to wines and spirits transactions. No longer are we reliant on trust – buyers can verify authenticity prior to investing.”


Downey has partnered with Silicon Valley veteran Ed Baum as COO to help build and scale Chai Vault. Baum has 30+ years of consulting and operational experience, both at large companies and with startups, and is also a passionate, long-time fine wine connoisseur. Before co-founding Chai Vault, Baum spent 12 years in various executive positions with Cisco, most recently running global strategy, planning and operations across the Cisco Cloud Platform & Solutions Group as well as being the general manager of multiple cloud infrastructure software products. He actively engages with the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem, having acted as a CEO mentor for more than a dozen startups going through Alchemist Accelerator, and continues to advise many of those companies on their strategies, operations, and fund-raising activities. Together Downey and Baum have been working with San Francisco firm Azumo to build the software and blockchain solution, and Italy based Enoplastic to create the aftermarket Chai CapletTM.


Wine & Spirits Fraud and Counterfeiting Plague Global Markets


Wine and spirits counterfeiting and fraud continues to be an enormous blight in all markets across the globe. Accounting for an estimated 20% of international wine sales, counterfeit bottles have increasingly become a significant risk in the fine wine and spirits industries with substantial counterfeiting of both newly produced bottles and bottles sold in the secondary market. These counterfeits represent hundreds of millions in losses to consumers, family businesses, corporations and governments and can even take lives, as seen in the recent tragedies in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.


Bringing Transparency to the Wine & Spirits Trade


Today, most fine wines and spirits are bought sight unseen. Consumers make purchases without direct proximity to bottles to physically inspect or scan. Consumers buy via auction, online, direct from producers or through futures/pre-arrival and are forced to rely on opaque statements from motivated sellers, which has resulted in hundreds of millions in counterfeit and fraudulent purchases. Chai Vault certification empowers consumers to verify bottle data in advance of purchase, from anywhere in the world, rather than having to trust vendors only to deal with the costly, time-consuming fallout from bad acquisitions. Chai Vault empowers consumers to focus on buying bottles that are authentic rather than hoping to avoid those that are not.


Chai Vault is already working with wine producers in the USA, Australia and in Europe and will be getting bottles certified at the time of production in the near future, thereby ensuring a perfect history of provenance for consumers. Producers can take advantage of Chai Vault certification for inventory control, oversight of supply chain movements and customer interaction via the inputting party’s hyperlink on bottles’ Ledger of Authenticity and ProvenanceTM.


Chai Vault is being rolled out by vendors in Paris and Amsterdam following bottle inspection by certified TCM® Authenticators. On December 7th in NYC, Zachy’s Auctions will feature a multi-million-dollar, single-owner consignment, “The Black Tie Collection,” all of which are Chai Vault certified. Prior to bidding, interested parties can see individual bottles’ Ledgers of Authenticity and ProvenanceTM which display both proof of authenticity and provable provenance history simply by clicking the hyperlink to an online-only, blockchain secured ledger.


Chai Vault is supported by offices in Europe and a global network of over twenty certified and in-training TCM® Authenticators and regional representatives, enabling global registration of bottles in the Chai Vault.


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