Whining About Wine

A Project in Wine

This week I got a chance to meet with the sponsor for my project – Jim Cupples. We got a chance to learn a lot about his background and he is an incredible guy! He has worked to set up a few different websites and companies already. One that may be useful as we move forward is his site- It is still in contemplation if a similar website for wines is within the scope for our project. The primary focus for our project is a phone application that works with wineries and consumers.

What the Wine?

There are two major factors the team needs to look at. The first side is creating the full application for both iOS and Android devices. The application should read QR codes that are individual per bottle of wine. Scanning the code will provide information about the wine and if it is potentially a fraudulent bottle. With participation from people in the wine industry the points of sale can also be tracked per bottle. The second factor for this project will be working with the wineries.

Wine Networking

In order to arrange for QR codes on bottles we will have to put boots on the ground and talk to wineries. Putting individualized QR codes will help track the authenticity of the bottles of wine. It will also assist with tracking the history of each bottle. To do this will require a decent amount of networking – pressing the importance so their wine cannot be copied. Another aspect will be gaining information about each of these wines and wineries to store in the application. When a QR code is scanned we want to give the user a description of the wine and grapes used.

A Database Option

One database option I looked into this week was the AWS- Amazon Web Services database. I like the idea of using an online, cloud-based database for the project as it does not require a physical server that needs to be maintained. It seems like it will have a decent learning curve. Above that, when set up properly it is very secure.


Learning About Wine Fraud

Fraud in a Bottle

How do you know if a product is authentic? First create a secure history of the product. How can you create a secure history of a product? Blockchain incorporated into the history of the product can keep it secure. This year my team and I are working with a sponsor to create just such a product for use in the wine industry. The plan is an application for wineries and distributors to use. Starting with the source of the bottle, it’s history can be stored securely with blockchain encryption. Then the information about the wine can be tracked in the application. This week I started researching the topic – starting with a movie on wine fraud.

Sour Grapes?!

This week I took an opportunity to watch the documentary “Sour Grapes” (2017). The documentary focused on the life of Rudy Kurniawan. He is behind one of the largest wine frauds to ever be exposed in the United States. Rudy came to the US in the late 1990’s on a student visa and stayed as a fugitive after it ran out. He made his way into the high class wine circles socially – where he tried to make everyone his friend. High dollar wines sold from his private collection for millions of dollars. These high dollar wines turned out to be bottles that were refilled with low dollar wine and sold at auction. It is estimated that 15,000 bottles of fraudulent wine sold through Rudy’s private collection.

Why This Project?

I enjoy drinking wine and am a security major. When looking at projects for my capstone project – I knew this was the one. This exciting project should make for an interesting year and my project partners and I seem to be off to a great start. We have a lot of research to do as we work to familiarize ourselves with the wine industry and blockchain. We plan to meet up with our sponsor once a weekly meeting time is established this week. I look forward to learning a lot and forming many connections in the wine community.


Welcome to Me!

A Blog By: Samantha Zeigler - a Cyber Security Major

Hello and welcome to my first blog post – Welcome to Me!

My name is Samantha Zeigler and I am a cyber security major at Oregon State University. My original interest in programming started with my dad – he worked at Symantec and McAfee as a programmer throughout my childhood. His programming work started my interest in programming which maintained itself when I got to high school and took every programming class offered. Finding cyber security happened easily with my dad as a role model.

I just finished up a summer internship with Tripwire as an Agility Intern. My experience there was unique as I stepped into the role of scrum master for one of their senior programming teams. The experience was especially unique as I worked remotely through the pandemic with primarily Microsoft Teams as a communication tool.

Completing my Associates Degree at Chemeketa Community College started my higher education journey. School then took the back seat for a couple years as I joined the Air National Guard. I have now been in the Oregon Air National Guard for over four years. Maintaining the F-15 has been great. The Guard activation in response to the wildfires allowed me to work further with the community.

I look forward to learning a lot during this year project and working with the community.

Samantha Zeigler