GS1 Italy and GS1 Hong Kong have used a radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that could improve supply chain management and help wine producers, importers and distributors in their shipments.

The two groups recently performed a pilot study where they tested an RFID-enabled supply chain of wine between Italy and Hong Kong and determined how imported products can be monitored to track the bottles from when they were shipped until they reach the wine shop, reported RFIDJournal.

As a part of the study, the wine bottles, cartons and pellets were tied with electronic product code (EPC) passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags and temperature sensor tags, and were fixed to the wall of an Italian vineyard warehouse.

The study involved tracking wine products from four Italian wine companies to two Hong Kong importers/distributors Watson’s Wine Cellar and Summergate Fine Wines, and finally to wine shops in Hong Kong.

Azienda Agricola Le Macchiole, Ceretto, Barone Ricasoli and Marchesi Antinori were the four Italian wine companies participated in the pilot study.

From the study, the two GS1 organizations wanted to confirm whether the technology used could provide better information regarding sufficient stock availability to fulfill orders at the Italian vineyard’s warehouse, determine how RFID documents when wine leaves the DC in Italy and arrives at Hong Kong port, and evaluate inventory levels at the Hong Kong importer.

Based on the pilot study results, GS1 Italy determined that the accuracy of supply chain data could be increased from 80-100% and that logistics management could be improved based on having better knowledge of products’ locations.

GS1 Hong Kong industry and product marketing manager Emma Chan said this is the first-ever wine-traceability pilot by using EPC RFID in item level to improve global real-time product-shipment visibility.