A South Australian winemaker is set to become the first vintner in the world to sell an entire vintage via NFT.

Torbreck and Powell & Son founder Dave Powell has put his 2021 single-vintage wines under his new brand Neldner Road up for auction on Opensea, the leading NFT marketplace.

There are 100 NFTs that are redeemable for specific barrels of wine, or someone can buy the entire vintage for 2,373.28 Eth (US$8.88 million).

Powell said the decision to sell this way made sense as the wine world struggled with COVID and geopolitics.

“I’ve always liked to try new things and when I found out about NFTs, it seemed to fit well with wine,” he said. “This reminds me of how wines are sold in Bordeaux through their en primeur system, which has been in operation for over a century.”

(The en primeur system lets connoisseurs purchase “wine futures” 12 to 18 months before the wine is bottled).

“Like en primeur, people who purchase an NFT could be at an advantage over the normal wine buyer, who will pay full retail price once the wine hits the open market,” Powell continued.

“Like en primeur, NFTs guarantee provenance, which is great, but it’s more about bringing my wines to a new audience who I think will be interested in what we’re doing.

“Like the more ‘traditional’ NFT products, our wine is rare – just 100 barrels; it’s unique – every vintage is different; and it’s the original collectible – the oldest personal wine collection we know of dates back nearly 4,000 years.”

The barrels aren’t cheap – the auction began this morning with minimum bids set at 6.95 Eth (US$26,000).

But aside from being redeemable for a specific barrel of wine they also come with one-of-a-kind experiences such as working a day’s vintage with Powell and his crew plus dinner together at his Marananga vineyard in the Barossa Valley.

Nelder Road will also cellar the barrel until its owner is ready to receive it. Each is 225 litres, enough to fill 300 standard wine bottles.

There are other bonuses as well, including holograms and various perks such as airfare and dinner parties if a buyer purchases multiple NFTs.

A number of Barossa Valley winemakers say above-average rainfall and a mild summer means the 2021 vintage is shaping up to be the best in living memory.

“I’ve waited more than four decades to be in the right place at the right time,” Powell said. “The confluence of climatic conditions that lead up to the vintage I feel will never been repeated again, and hence have resulted in fruit that is simply the best I’ve ever seen – and I think these wines may well be the best I ever make.”