Food Drink

Meet Bottli: The New Premium Wine Club Defending Aussie Wine Exporters Against Counterfeits

Bottli delivers premium and luxury French and Australian wines, while defending local growers against export wine fraud.

A new wine club called Bottli has arrived, and it’s doing things differently. Bottli is delivering premium and luxury French and Australian wines to our doors, and at the same time defending local growers against export wine fraud.

Bottli launched last year, and has already built a loyal wine-loving customer base. Its French-born, Adelaide-based founder and CEO Nathalie Taquet has also established eBottli, a startup which uses the latest technologies to guard our premium wine industry from export fakes.

Bottli is focused on a niche but growing market. It delivers a hand-picked monthly selection of wines from boutique Australian wineries that do not supply major bottle shops, along with some French wines and champagnes.  Tasting notes and classes, along with suggestions of walks to follow for a picnic tasting, are also added to the delivery.

In addition, Bottli offers a wine concierge service which can source very rare and valuable bottles of wine from around the world; and an on-demand Sommelier service.

“At Bottli, we believe that a good bottle of wine should bring joy and spread happiness – for the drinker, and the winemaker,” says Nathalie Taquet. “I started Bottli to deliver the best French and Australian wines from small-scale artisan winemakers.

“During this process, I also saw first-hand how big a problem counterfeit wines are for the industry. I knew technology could help, so I set up eBottli to help protect the more vulnerable winemakers.”

eBottli delivers a suite of new technologies and geolocating services for bottles or containers, and unique identifier labels for winemakers. It guarantees a wine’s authenticity, and helps address the issue of brand trust for Australian exports – a huge issue in markets such as Asia.

“It’s quite unbelievable the extent that wine counterfeiters will go to,” says Nathalie. “Some will simply replace valuable wine with cheap substitutes in the bottle, with fake labels. They also add juice, and spices for added flavour. Other dodgy bottles contain no grapes at all, and even have harmful substances added – such as lead acetate, which is a sweetener.”

Counterfeit plonk is huge business. Potential losses to the global industry are estimated to reach $4.3 trillion by 2022. In China alone, around 50% of wine over $35 is counterfeit, and 70% of bottles sold are fraudulent. This is a major problem for our wine exporters, who are already reeling from bushfires, drought, and the threat of a trade war with China.

eBottli is now working with 12 clients across Australia, including vineyards in the quality wine regions of McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

“The technology also allows wine drinkers to connect with the vineyard, and see the story of how the bottle came to be in front of them,” said Nathalie. “Our ultimate plan is to have wine bottles arrive to the customer in China, and then they can use their smartphones to scan the label and read its Australian story of origin.”

Nathalie and her family moved to Australia two years ago, and got their start in Sydney. The South Australian government provided attractive incentives to base eBottli in Adelaide, through the new SISA (Supporting Innovation in SA) program, so Nathalie and her family made the move. Although both businesses have been disrupted by COVID-19, Nathalie has a strong vision for the future for both Bottli and eBottli.

“I’m happy to be living here in South Australia, there are so many wonderful wines and wineries,” said Nathalie. “And the goal is for more people understand what makes a great drop – whether it’s Australian or French – so they’ll never be disappointed with their choice of wine.”

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