Blockchain-based traceability of the wine supply chain

Supply-chain systems, which handle the flow and transformation of goods, have been present since the inception of commercialisation. Over time, the management of these chains has been an increasing focus for companies in order to obtain the information necessary for maintaining and improving the performance of workers and the efficiency of production. Moreover, through ongoing analysis of, and tweaks to, the supply chain, one of the goals of supply-chain management is for the system to be modified to have more transparent, flexible, and robust properties.

This project focuses on the managerial process in the sector of wine distribution. Apart from the issues also present in regular supply chains, this sector also encounters issues specific to wine distribution, such as wine fraud (a). Thus, the salient characteristics of the issues being addressed through this study concerned the concentration of authority and the traceability of the commodities. The main objectives of this project were to explore the design options of the management of this supply chain in a smart- contract view, and to identify properties that could be formally verified.

The design of how the wine-distribution supply chain operates was acquired through a study of papers/articles related to the sector [2,3]. The entities and their relationship with other entities were defined. The main phases of the wine supply chain are as follows: the vineyard, where the grapes are produced; the manufacturer, who handles the winemaking process; and finally, the market, which is the end-buyer or consumer who relies on the distributor (who, in turn, is the link between consumer and winemaker). The flow and transformation of the items are considered through all the elements involved between the vignerons and the consumers.

Blockchain technology makes use of a digital distributed ledger of transactions accessible by shared nodes on a network in a peer-to-peer and decentralised manner. The transactions are immutable, secure, and reliable. The implementation of the wine supply chain system is built through the use of smart contracts. These are self-executing programs that have been fed with a set of requirements to run functionalities that could include transferring monetary values from one address to another [4]. The smart contracts in this project fall under the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform, and programmed using Solidity. The above- mentioned technologies have been utilized with a view to mitigate the pitfalls of centralised systems, reduce points in the system containing dependencies and safety risks as well as ensuring a system with increased transparency and better traceability.

Figure 1. Overview of the wine supply chain

The project also included a run-time verification element. This is a type of formal verification, which entails an evaluation process to check specifications on the extent to which they satisfy well-formed requirements, and expected properties are upheld. Run-time verification tests properties while the system is still executing. Thus, the properties are defined by the expected behaviour of the smart contract, proving that the resulting behaviour indicates that the smart contract satisfies the intended goals.

Finally, the tool of ContractLarva verification tool was used to generate an updated and safe smart contract by providing the initial smart contract and the properties of the smart contract, which are expressed in dynamic event automata [1]. By comparing the cost to execute the initial smart contract with the cost for running the modified version, it would be determined which run-time verification tests are important enough to still be included in the system.

a. – Wine Fraud is the falsification of product details in wine commerce.


[1] K. Biswas, V. Muthukkumarasamy, and W. L. Tan, “Blockchain based wine supply chain traceability system,” 2017.

[2] M. G. Cimino and F. Marcelloni, Enabling traceability in the wine supply chain. Springer, 2012, pp. 397–412.

[3] P. Tsao, “Blockchain 2.0 and Ethereum [Blockchain Basics Part 3],” 2018. [Online]. Available: blockchain-2-0-and-ethereum-blockchain-basics-part-3- 362eb3561b4e

[4] S. Azzopardi, J. Ellul, and G. J. Pace, “Monitoring smart contracts: Contractlarva and open challenges beyond,” 2018, pp. 113–137.

Student: Gabriel Camilleri
Course: B.Sc. IT (Hons.) Computing Science
Supervisor: Prof. Gordon J. Pace
Co-supervisor: Dr. Joshua Ellul