Presented by Libation Labs

The question plaguing the globe for months has been: what is an NFT? NFTs are non-fungible tokens that are stored on various blockchains and have unique qualities, which can’t be exchanged for other assets of the same type or be replicated or shared. With the Metaverse, Web 3.0 and NFTs on the rise, NFTs can now be seen as the natural evolution of in-app purchases. But what else can an NFT be used for? Why are NFTs with utility much more attractive? In fact, NFTs are becoming a gateway for exclusive digital experiences across industries.

Until recently, many have viewed NFTs only as digital, collectable art, however many companies are now using the same technology to create value that is equally useful and desirable to consumers. Utility NFTs offer investors more than a piece of artwork to look at; they encompass attractive, redeemable benefits that come with owning the NFT, providing access to off-menu products and experiences. This version of NFTs has already proven a success for The Bored Ape Yacht Club, where buyers gain access to an exclusive members’ club. NBA star Stephen Curry, musician Post Malone, and talk show host Jimmy Fallon all own Bored Ape NFTs, and therefore are all part of the club.

Another progressive sector moving into the digital space is the wine industry, with Cuvée Collective’s wine NFT members club providing access to exclusive experiences centered initially in Napa Valley. Membership focused on community and utility are crucial when building a digital experience with an NFT. Whether it’s a wine NFT that provides members with access to exclusive wine allocation, one-of-a-kind tailored visits to partner wineries and hot air balloon rides over Napa Valley, or an invite-only Bored Ape Yacht Club party, a community is driven to invest more in an experience, rather than an asset.

President and CEO of Robert Craig Winery Elton Slone is hugely invested in the concept of taking wine digital and will be one of the first to join Cuvée Collective as a partner winery, stating: “Wine tasting and memberships are no longer about hoarding and collecting wine, it’s about having experiences with wine and food, beautiful scenery and the story of it all. Things have changed so much, and if you’re not looking at what’s coming next you’re going to be out of business shortly. I think NFT’s are a way to bring that experience to people and let them own a piece of it themselves.”

An important aspect of an experience-driven NFT is offering the dedicated community levels of features they can interact with regularly. As part of Cuvée Collective’s community programming, developing a way to explore the two interlinked and innovative worlds was crucial. “Wine in Web 3.0”, a podcast created by Cuvée Collective and hosted by Kelly Vero — one of the most influential and controversial thought leaders in the Metaverse — has just launched.

Vero talks to experts throughout the wine industry, discussing the development of wine through the ages till now, and how innovative technology such as NFTs can advance reach  and engagement with younger consumers. “The relationship that wine has with luxury, art and creativity, goes back thousands of years,” says Vero. “Looking forward, I think everything about wine and winemaking is really relevant to building the perfect NFT. Art, luxury and wine are the most investible, physical products, so being able to create digital versions of that — they’re keepers. What I’m most excited about, though, is the wealth of experience that is currently completely exclusive to a winery and will be opened up to a much wider audience with access via NFTs.”

Digital gateways to physical experiences are only possible with a platform that connects the two worlds. In our case, the Flow blockchain’s ethos of delivering digital collectibles with the power of play felt like a smart match for Cuvée Collective’s NFTs as its blockchain technology is second to none. The home of NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, and CryptoKitties, Flow is renowned for its industry-leading consumer-scale Web3 experiences, and now, Flow and Libation Labs are collaborating to make Cuvée Collective’s wine NFTs a reality. “We are excited to partner with Libation Labs to launch Cuvée Collective on Flow, because their NFTs will be a true leader in the digital wine experience space,” explained Mickey Maher, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at Dapper Labs.

With Cuvée Collective’s first wine NFTs launching at the end of June, the focus is looking to the future of digital experience and building this community as a model for other wine regions throughout the world, especially as Cuvée Collective branches into adjacent industries in the future.

Andrew Allison is CEO and Co-Founder of Libation Labs.

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