If you’ve been on the internet in the past year, you’ve probably heard of NFTs. As a wine lover, you probably didn’t think that NFTs had anything to do with you. Well, a company called Bitwine is changing that. They’ve turned some iconic wines into high-value NFTs.
Wine as cryptocurrency? How does that work? The even more confusing part is that there’s nothing to drink; the wines are purely virtual. So why are they so expensive? Today, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about Bitwine and why wine-themed NFTs are all the rage.
What Is An NFT?
First things first: what even is an NFT? You may have noticed some of your favorite celebrities selling them for millions of dollars on social media. NFT stands for “nonfungible token.” Nonfungible means that something cannot be exchanged for something of equal value. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged for a $20, meaning they’re fungible. NFTs cannot be exchanged, and hence, they’re one of a kind.
The token refers to a unit of cryptocurrency on a blockchain. This is how cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are bought and sold. NFTs are meant to be one-of-a-kind, and the purchaser is the only one who has access to them. They are valuable because of their scarcity.
NFTs typically represent real-world assets, like art, music, and videos. However, unlike their real-world counterparts, NFTs have unique identifying codes that make them unique. Think of them as a one-of-a-kind painting. While anybody can buy a print of a painting, only one person can purchase the original. This makes the original much more valuable.
So, how does an NFT work? NFTs exist on a blockchain, which is essentially a public ledger that records transactions. Blockchains are the underlying process that makes cryptocurrencies possible. NFTs are typically held on the Ethereum blockchain, but other chains support them as well. NFTs are created, or “minted,” from digital objects that represent both real-world and digital items, including art, GIFs, videos and sports highlights, collectibles, designer sneakers, music, and more.
Essentially, NFTs are like collector’s items, but instead of owning the physical item, you own a digital copy. NFTs can only have one owner at a time but can be bought and sold like regular cryptocurrency. The owner or creator of an NFT can also store specific information inside of them. For instance, artists could theoretically sign their artwork by including their signature in an NFT’s metadata.
What Is Bitwine?
Bitwine is a Toronto-based company that creates NFTs of world-renowned pixel art inspired by wines from all around the world. The wines can range from common to rare, with the rarer wines being more expensive. Here’s the catch: with an NFT, you don’t actually get to have the physical object it represents. What Bitwine sells is purely digital, meaning you won’t get to taste the wine you’ve “purchased.”
The Bitwine team is composed of a cryptocurrency specialist, a master sommelier, and an illustrator and graphic designer. Together, they carefully research real-world wines, create pixel art inspired by those wines, then turn them into NFTs and sell them online. Each Bitwine contains properties that are inspired by the real-world wine they represent, such as their level of rarity, their country and region, their year, and their grape varietals.
You may be thinking: why would people purchase wine they can’t even drink? Well, it’s all about investment. Bitwine is released in ongoing “drops” of 50 wines at a time. Bitwine is available for purchase through OpenSea, a popular NFT trading marketplace. The first Bitwine collection was sold on April 10, 2021, for 16 Ethereum, which is the equivalent of about $34,000 US dollars.
Bitwine isn’t just a one-off success, either. In the five days after their launch, they generated 24 Ethereum in sales, or around $52,000 USD. Bitwine has currently dropped over 800 different wines, with over 200 more being planned. The drops are comprised of 50 to 100 Bitwine, categorized in themes, such as natural wines, New World wines, and fortified/dessert wines.
Bitwines and Their Real World Counterparts
Unfortunately, Bitwine does not tell you exactly what wine corresponds with which NFT. This is probably to make the Bitwines more valuable, as the name of the wine is something only the purchaser gets to know. However, with a little detective work, we’ve made some guesses as to which wine corresponds to which Bitwine.
Bitwine #96: Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio
This Bitwine is described as a 2020 Pinot Grigio from the New South Wales region of Australia that is dry, light-bodied, and medium in acidity. The iconic kangaroo on the label leads us to believe that this Bitwine is meant to represent Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio.
Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio hails from Australia and is light-bodied and dry. It offers green apple and pear aromas, followed by a clean, crisp, and refreshing palate. It’s an incredible summer wine and tastes amazing sipped chilled. Sounds similar, right?
Bitwine #96 was released as part of their Launch Drop, which included a mix of 100 wines from around the world, from sought-after classics to well-known staples. This first drop is 93% sold out, and according to OpenSea, this NFT has already been bought and sold a few times.
Bitwine #279: Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne 1988
Bitwine #279 is described as a 1988 Blanc de Blanc Brut Champagne. According to OpenSea, this wine was made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from the Champagne region of France, has high acidity and a medium alcohol level.
Based on the description and the design, we believe this is Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne 1988. This is an incredibly rare bottle of Champagne that retails for around $2500. It’s medium-bodied, acidic, and deliciously fizzy and fresh. It offers flavors of crushed rocks, minerals, and citrus, with mind-blowing purity and elegance.
Bitwine #279 was part of Sparkling Drop 1, which included Bitwines #276-#325. This drop included a variety of fizzy and bubbling wines, from Champagne to Prosecco and beyond. Bitwine #279 is currently on sale for .22 Ethereum, or $590.98.
Bitwine #74: Dr. L Riesling 2016
Bitwine #74 is described as a 2016 Riesling from the Mosel region in Germany, with an off-dry sweetness, high acidity, and a medium to full body. We believe this Bitwine is meant to represent Dr. Loosen, or “Dr. L” Riesling.
Dr. L. Riesling is a white wine hailing from Mosel, Germany. The grapes for this wine are sourced exclusively from vineyards with steep slopes and slate soil, and the wine itself is described as racy and elegant. It’s incredibly refreshing and fruity, with notes of snappy peach and citrus fruit, which are highlighted by crisp mineral notes and a complex finish.
Bitwine #74 was part of the original launch Drop. It’s currently listed for sale at a price of .1 Ethereum, or $268.63.
Bitwine #176: 1941 Inglenook Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon
Bitwine #176 is modeled after an extremely rare unicorn wine. It’s described as a 1941 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rutherford region of Napa Valley in California. The producer of this wine-focused on using only the finest quality grapes and making a top-quality wine, which made this bottle stand out, as this was during a time when the rest of the region was focused on bulk production of cheap wines. Based on this description, we believe this is the 1941 Inglenook Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 1941 Inglenook Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon is an incredibly rare wine that offers remarkable elegance, finesse, depth, and grace. It offers beautifully layered flavors of black cherry, currant, anise, cedar, sage, complemented by earthy notes. This bottle of wine is not currently available at auction, but the last time it was sold was on February 21, 2021, for $3,950.
Bitwine #176 was part of the New World Drop, the third drop Bitwine produced. It was a mix of different new world wines from Canada and the US. Bitwine #176 is currently on sale for .4 Ethereum, or $1,074.50.
NFTs are a huge deal in the world of cryptocurrency right now. They can be based on a variety of real-world and digital objects, such as artwork, shoes, GIFs, videos, music, and more. Bitwine is a company that makes NFTs based on wines from all around the world. Bitwines are one-of-a-kind collectibles, with only one owner each. This makes them very rare, unique collector’s items.
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