We're gonna look at an interesting use of text messaging today. You may or may not have heard about a recent scandal in the Italian wine world (if you don't know, Italy experiences food/wine/olive oil scandals with some regularity).
This is what went down:
The Italian government investigated the 2003 vintage [of Brunello] and found that several of the 250 producers in the consortium had adulterated their wines. Brunello can only be produced using 100 percent Sangiovese grapes grown only in a small demarcated area surrounding the village of Montalcino. It then must be aged for two years in oak barrels, and then another four months in bottle, and a Brunello cannot be released until five years after the harvest. With the 2003 vintage, however, it was discovered that some winemakers fraudulently used grapes other than Sangiovese. Over 700,000 cases were impounded, and around 1.3 million liters were eventually stripped of the prestigious denomination of origin.
Brunello doesn't come cheap, so what's a wine consumer to do? Enter the text message:
The producers of Brunello di Montalcino — the coveted and mythologized Tuscan red — announced they would be using mobile phone technology to assure consumers that their very expensive bottles actually contained Brunello di Montalcino. Now, after you plunk down $60 or $80 or $100 for the 2004 vintage, you can send a text message with your bottle’s ID number to the Consorzio del Vino del Brunello di Montalcino. In return you’ll receive a text verifying its history and authenticity.
Read more at The Smart Set.