Today I bought a tree snake
After many weeks of Sam talking excitedly about Juliette’s vineyard and wine project, and then linking this to wine Non Fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrency and the Blockchain, I still had no real understanding of what most of these things were. Finally, after much discussion, I now believe that I may have developed a basic understanding of these things and how they may work.
For me, the simplest way of viewing an NFT is to think of it as a trading card or collectible sticker, much like the ones children collect/trade in the playground. The rarer the card/sticker, the more valuable it becomes in trading terms. The obvious differences between these cards and with the wine NFTs are that they are digital, and only 600 will exist (representing one of Juliette’s actual vines). Proof of ownership of the one original NFTs is provided by the Block chain – think of this as an excel spreadsheet which authenticates and irrefutably records the transfer and ownership of the registered NFT.
So, back to the trading cards. You may be questioning why anyone would seek ownership of a digital picture of a vine – I know I did! Again, for me it really helped to think of it in terms of a game, such as Monopoly, in which the paper money could represent the cryptocurrency used to purchase trading cards as you land on them – or in our case, Sam offering you the opportunity to buy an NFT vine as they are released/created (minted). Just as cards are traded, the NFT can then be exchanged for wine (in May once it is released), or kept and added to, much like players buy cards to complete their sets, the more ‘sets’ you own, the more valuable they may become. Once all are sold, creating scarcity, the perceived value may increase and so the game goes on. Think of the wine produced as rent from the houses linked to your trading card/NFT. The more you own, the more wine you have access to. Just like in the game, if you get bored you can choose to cash in (for wine) and leave – or alternatively you can choose to play another round (pass go) and become part of the next vintage/wine story, adding more NFTs to your collection, along the way.
Now for the clever part. Let’s imagine that Juliette’s vineyard is only a small part of the game (Monopoly board); that year on year the board continues to grow, as other similar and exciting wine projects (think Gutters and Stars and Flint perhaps) are incorporated. Now your potential access is not limited to Juliette’s future wine; you have potential access theirs too, by purchasing other NFTs to add to your collection, in just the same way. As you go around the board for a third, fourth round etc, you can now swap/sell your NFTs for a mixed case of new and exciting wines.
The final question that you may ask yourself, is why Sam is doing this now? To put it simply, making wine is not cheap. It requires many hours of love and labour; alongside expertise, equipment, bottle, label and clasp (not forgetting the advance duty payment of £2.33 +VAT per bottle). Having covered these costs themselves for the first two vintages (and sold out), Sam and Juliette now feel that given the quality of the East Anglian harvest, the wine produced this year will be the best they have made yet. Through the purchasing of NFTs you are not only becoming part of the ‘game’, and injecting a small amount of cash; but are becoming part of a community project – a wine making story. The NFTs being released as photos, or digital art, or wine labels, are a historical record of the journey of a vineyard and a wine making process – a process which to date has taken 17 years. Being part of this project enables you to walk in the vineyard, taste wine from the tank and become part of the celebration at the Vendange party. You may even fancy making a record of the wines that you drink through an NFT.
So, after all this explanation, I had to try it for myself – and it was easy. I have my sights set on an NFT of myself, my daughter and my father picking grapes at the very first harvest, to start my collection. Unfortunately, these are yet to be minted.
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And that is how I ended up with a Tree Snake….
Written by: Lisa