5 Real-World Scenarios for Using Data + Wine

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“I don’t know where to start.”

That’s a refrain I hear often, when it comes to putting data to work for your wine business. I get it. Data can be overwhelming, particularly if you spend most of your time making wine or growing grapes or selling wine or communicating about wine in one form or another (as I do).

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to know everything there is to know. In fact, the best approach is probably to take small steps, one at a time, according to what your gut is telling you needs the most attention right now.

Here are five specific scenarios we’ve heard recently, along with practical applications for putting the data to use.

  1. Our national sales meeting is coming up. How can outside data tell my team something they don’t already know, so they can make more sales?

  2. We’re a member-based organization that needs to give the same attention to small producers as we do to large ones. Can the same system of data analysis expand and contract, to accommodate production?

  3. Our wine club over-indexes on older consumers, and we’re anxious about them buying less or dropping out altogether. How can we carve up the data, in order to customize offerings that will appeal to their current tastes and keep them interested?

  4. We’re a young, emerging region and we need to make smart decisions right away about what grapes to plant and where. What kind of data can help us with this?

  5. If you were to suggest the five best “data things” I can do for my business, what would they be? We don’t have a big budget or a lot of staff, so they need to be efficient and actionable.

Which of these scenarios sounds familiar to you? Please let us know, because they’re all questions we’ve fielded in recent months, and we think we’d be able to help you too.

Thank you, as always, for your attention and for reading these posts.

8 Ways We Can Use Data to Improve Wine Business

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Some of these are already being done, while others are still a little further down the road.

Some of these are better suited to small wineries, while others require more bandwidth and resources.

But all of them are within the realm of what’s possible, when we apply data analysis to the purpose of improving wine business.

  1. Analyze consumer purchasing behavior via DTC, in order to customize future offerings according to their preferences and likelihood of purchase.

  2. Build “finder windows” for standard industry reports that many wine businesses already receive, in order to dynamically engage with the information that matters to your business individually.

  3. Combine soil measurements with weather and vigor data over time, to develop a picture of the evolving climate of a vineyard.

  4. Parse out the language of new communities of consumers, especially along trend lines that are only now emerging.

  5. Apply machine learning tools to measure the lift of online ad campaigns in a more robust and granular fashion.

  6. Combine (4) and (5).

  7. Aggregate independent retailer information, to complement chain store reports, so that we have a more comprehensive picture of sales across the board.

  8. Segment that information according to variables that matter to you personally, such as target markets, varietal popularity, or place of origin of the wines.

Which of these possibilities speaks to you? Which others, maybe that aren’t even listed here, would you like to explore?

Drop a line and let me know. I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

The Hardest Part About What We Do. (It’s Also Why We Do It.)

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When it comes to fresh ideas for your business, there’s a lot to be said for cross-pollinating. That is, getting outside the routines of your industry and exploring how other people approach the sort of challenges you face.

I’m all for it.

I’m also all for spending time with people and colleagues who GET you straight away, and what you’re doing, and how very hard it can be.

That’s exactly how it felt on Tuesday evening this past week, when Enolytics was invited to kick off the CDO Executive Summit at the St Regis Hotel in Atlanta. There was not a single other person from the wine industry in that room, but it felt like the Chief Data Officers in the audience GOT us straight away, and what we’re doing, and how very hard it can be.

It felt that way to me, and I’m not even our Chief Data Officer.

Chris, who is our CDO, was there too and here’s what he had to say:

Clearly every industry struggles with the same big issue, which is convincing decision makers to confirm their gut feeling through informed data. Many executives believe they know better and aren’t taking the data people serious. Until… they get a taste of it. Quite often, the data scientist become their best new friend. But it’s often a frustrating journey to get the executives on board.

“Getting the executives on board” is a challenge for sure, but here’s what struck me most about the conversation and the Q&A part of the program that evening:

The hardest part of what the CDOs do is also the hardest part of what we do, and that’s telling the story.

The story, that is, about why data matters, and how it will help our business. Whether our business is insurance or manufacturing or finance or wine, we need to communicate the effect of our work.

In other words, we need to tell the story of why we do what we do.

Sure, there will be a business case for it, that shows solid logic around raising the price of an existing product, for example, or the revenue potential of developing something different from what’s currently in our portfolio.

That’s the cerebral part of things, that lives in our heads.

But what Chris and I heard from the audience even after the session was over, and in follow up conversations since then, was how much heart was in our work. What they saw, and felt, was how much we sincerely want to help the industry of wine be more successful and, ultimately, how much more enjoyable we want the wine experience to be for the consumer.

That is, in the end, why we do what we do.

Convincing clients and bosses of the usefulness of data is the hardest thing we do – “we” being Enolytics and every CDO who heard our story Tuesday night. What resonated this week more than ever was the need to combine the cerebral, rational component that lives in our heads with the motivation that lives in our hearts.

That’s the sweet spot of the story of why we do what we do, and why we keep doing it.

Thank you, as always, for tuning in.

PS Enjoy your holiday weekend next week! We’ll see you back here on July 12.

Cathy

The Role of Big Data in Successful Innovation: A Perspective from Spain

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Note: Last week in Madrid, Vinventions Spain hosted #TheExchange2019, with a focus on innovation in the marketing of wine, just as the emergence of 5G technology is underway in Spain. (Earlier this year, Enolytics was short-listed for the Born Digital Wine Award for Innovation, in partnership with Vinventions.) Andrés Bonet-Merten, Consejero Delegado of Enolytics Spain, offers his perspective on three major takeaways from the conference and the conversation.

Wineries, just as well as other companies, are relentlessly on the hunt for innovations that would give them a competitive edge. Innovations around wine production may receive much of the attention, but in fact many different fields within wine are ripe for innovation.

The emergence of 5G technology will help innovation in Spain. With 5G, information will flow with even greater velocity, which will increase the efficiency of AI, and data can be collected in any place and analyzed in real time in another place far away.

Innovation Needs Commercialization

At TheExchange2019 in Madrid, Esther Bachs of Vinventions advocated for “innovating the innovation,” noting that “innovating needs commercialization.” Ferrán Centelles of El Bulli agreed, saying that “if no one buys innovations, they are not innovations.” According to Kantar publishing, innovation in Spain continued at the minimum pace of historical levels in 2018, and that only the innovations that arrive at the shelves of the top 3 retailers, the supermarket chains such as Mercadona, Carrefour or Día, achieved a high percentage of success.

We need to ask ourselves the right question, which is how do we capture the interest of consumers and retailers, in order for more Spanish wines to find space on these and other international shelves?

This is why it is so important to know the final consumer in-dpeth, including their needs, preferences and behavior. This information already exists, in quantity as in quality – the big data of the consumer. Enolytics specializes in this data and sources of wine data, particularly of consumers and trade.

As Ester Bachs said, 95% of innovation in wine is around packaging. But how should this fundamental part of the “four Ps” of marketing be carried out? That’s where data helps, by knowing which packaging is preferred now or in the future. With the benefit of prescriptive analytics, we can steer the market toward favorable results that benefit our businesses.

Innovation Beyond Packaging

Packaging is not only image; it is also names, descriptions, a brief story telling… Through an analysis of language that’s used, in any country where consumers are located, in multiple languages. If consumers speak about wine & travel or wine & fruit, why doesn’t our storytelling include the findings of our analysis instead of always repeating the same words around the tasting note or the statement that this is, for example, “the best wine”?

Pedro Ballesteros MW is completely right when he said at TheExchange2019 that innovation should include social contexts. Let’s discover through big data about the context for local or international consumers, such as their language, their descriptions of the wines, or which bottle size or shape they prefer.

Ballesteros is also correct in saying that “big wines are big wines when a foreigner tastes them and says that they are big.” Importers follow the demand of consumers of every market. By using detailed information of the prices of wines that consumers are willing to pay in each market, and knowing the other variables and the best messages to deliver to these consumers, we will be able to better convince wine critics of the value of Spanish wines, and wineries will be better able to negotiate with the importers.

Innovation: Knowledge, Budget and Leadership

Ferrán Centelles of El Bulli restaurant said that “when there is more knowledge, more innovation is being made.” Centelles created “Bullipedia,” a combination of “El Bulli” and “encyclopedia,” to organize knowledge and innovate content for the improved training of sommeliers and other professionals around wine.

Innovation requires some investment and a budget that the top executives of wineries can decide and provide leadership around. In this moment the ROI of these investments may seem not measurable, as in most cases in Spain these investments have not been done before. Wine leaders need therefore to take a risk, to opt for the new technologies. As many analysts and influential economists warn, if such risks aren’t taken, then the competitive advantage is lost, and players are expelled from the market and replaced by those who opted for innovation.

Andrés Bonet-Merten

@EnolyticsSpain


LO QUE EL BIG DATA PUEDE APORTAR AL ÉXITO EN LA INNOVACIÓN

Las bodegas, igual que otras compañías, están siempre al acecho de innovaciones que les den una ventaja competitiva y las innovaciones entorno a la producción del vino pueden ser las que reciban más atención, pero de hecho hay muchos otros campos en que también surgen innovaciones.

Ahora que estamos estrenando las nuevas redes 5G en España, el big data del vino (o de los espirituosos o de la cerveza) cobra de nuevo especial interés para nosotros. El 5G va a hacer que la información fluya aún con más rapidez, lo que permitirá a la inteligencia artificial ser aún más eficaz y que se puedan recoger datos en cualquier lugar y valorarlos en tiempo real en otro lugar muy lejano.

La innovación necesita la comercialización

Esta inmediatez puede no ser tan necesaria en la viticultura, que como bien advertía Pedro Ballesteros MW en la reciente reunión de #TheExchange2019 organizada por @VinventionsEspana el pasado 10 de junio 2019, que “cada cosecha necesita de otros nueve meses para volver a producirse”.

No obstante, y siguiendo las propuestas de Ester Bachs (@esterbachs) de Vinventions de “innovar la innovación”, bien dice que “innovar necesita de la comercialización”, también lo advirtió Ferrán Centelles (@ferrancentelles) con su “las innovaciones, si no las compra nadie, no son innovaciones”. Y también cuando, según Kantar, la innovación se mantiene en mínimos históricos en 2018 y sólo las innovaciones que llegan al lineal de los top 3 retailers, las cadenas como por ejemplo Mercadona, Carrefour y Día, cosechan unas tasas de éxito del 86%, debemos hacernos la pregunta pertinente de ¿y cómo se llega a encontrar el camino hacia despertar el interés de los consumidores y la distribución para ser admitidos a éstos y otros lineales internacionales?

Casar demanda con oferta se logra cuando lo ofertado cumple en alta medida con las exigencias de los consumidores. Por ello es tan importante conocer en profundidad al consumidor final, sus gustos, preferencias y comportamiento. Y esta información ya está disponible, en cantidad y calidad – en el big data del consumidor. Nosotros en Enolytics nos hemos especializado en identificar estos datos y las fuentes de big data del vino, especialmente la de sus consumidores y los de la distribución - el “trade”.

Aún podemos innovar mucho en la producción de vino como en su comercialización. La comercialización se basa en las 4 Ps del marketing y las cuatro, con información detallada proveniente del big data analytics se pueden optimizar o cambiar para aprovechar la innovación.

Innovación más allá del packaging

Innovar en vino, decía Ester, es un 95% innovar el packaging, pero ¿cómo debe ser también esta parte fundamental de las 4Ps del marketing? Con ayuda del big data del consumidor también sabremos qué packaging le gusta más, ahora, más adelante o incluso con el “prescriptive analytics” podremos mover al mercado hacia dónde beneficie más a nuestras empresas. Pero el packaging no sólo es imagen, también contiene nombres, descripciones, un breve storytelling… Y a ésto el big data le pondrá luz realizando un análisis del lenguaje que usan y están acostumbrados a leer, estén en el país que estén, en múltiples lenguas, los consumidores. Si los consumidores hablan de “vino y viajes” o de “vino y frutas”, ¿por qué nuestro storytelling no incorpora los hallazgos de estos análisis en vez de repetir siempre lo mismo, la ficha de cata o “el ser mejor vino”.

Pedro Ballesteros tiene toda la razón cuando expuso en la jornada de “The Exchange”, que la innovación debe de tener en cuenta los contextos sociales. Descubramos con el big data del consumidor nacional o internacional su contexto, su lenguaje, sus descripciones del vino que quiere o qué envase quiere, como puntualizó Rafael del Rey.

También Pedro Ballesteros está en lo cierto diciendo que los vinos grandes lo son cuando un extranjero los cata y dice que son grandes. También los prescriptores e importadores se rigen por lo que demanda el consumidor en cada mercado. Con información en detalle de los precios que están dispuestos a pagar por nuestro vino en cada mercado, con el conocimiento también de las otras variables y un mensaje especialmente dirigido a esos consumidores, podremos también convencer mejor a los prescriptores o negociar mejor con los importadores.

Innovación: conocimiento, presupuesto y liderazgo

No está errando Ferrán Centelles cuando dice que realiza su Bullipedia para ordenar el conocimiento, para innovar en contenidos universitarios y mejorar la formación de sumilleres y demás trabajadores entorno al vino y que “a mayor conocimiento, mayor innovación”.

La innovación requiere de una inversión, de un presupuesto que cada año la alta dirección de las bodegas debe de fijar y liderar. Actualmente el retorno, el ROI de estas inversiones parece que no es medible por tratarse en casi todos los casos de inversiones no realizadas antes. Exige pues una toma de riesgo, un apostar por las nuevas tecnologías, que como advierten muchos analistas y economistas de prestigio, como no se tome este camino, en pocos años se estará fuera del mercado al carecer de capacidad competitiva comparando con los que sí apostaron por la innovación.

Andrés Bonet Merten

@EnolyticsSpain

Revisiting Our Very First Client (in New Orleans!), and a Father's Day Hat Tip to Dads in Data

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This time last week, in New Orleans, I was very happy to participate in the Chile Uncorked event, hosted by Wines of Chile. When Full Circle Solutions (Evan Goldstein MS, Limeng Stroh and Andrea Dlugos) asked me to speak about Enolytics, my answer was an unequivocal Yes.

Wines of Chile, under previous Executive Director Marybeth Bentwood’s leadership, was our very first client, three years ago. For a new company like ours, your first client (and your first vote of confidence) is a very big deal.

Quite a lot has changed since then. Working with Wines of Chile now would take a very different shape than it did then. There are different partners, different relationships and a different ecosystem of data in wine than what was available and engaged three years ago.

There are more pieces of the puzzle on the table now. Trade. Consumer. Viticultural. Sales. Sentiment. Quantitative. Qualitative. The more pieces of the puzzle we can put together, the clearer the picture (for Chile and others) becomes.

That’s all for the better, IMO.

The theme of the session I co-presented with Madeline Puckette of Folly Enterprises was “the ultimate Chilean wine consumer.” Here’s the takeaway: we don’t know who that is yet, or what they look like, or how they behave.

But we can know.

That’s the point, for Chile and others. The information to answer their questions already exists. We just have to go and get it.

It’s what we’re geared up to discover.

Also! It’s Father’s Day this weekend and boy, Enolytics would be nowhere without the fathers on our team. My gratitude goes out to them. I wrote about this, and the impact the dads of Enolytics have had on our business, in my column over on Inc.com this week. You’re welcome of course to have a look.

Thank you, as always, for your interest and for reading these weekly posts.

PS Thank you, also, for your positive response to our DTC case study about Medlock Ames these past few weeks. (Here’s Part One, and Part Two.) We’d like to do more of that, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Cathy

Want to Increase the Profitability of Your DTC Program? Here's How.

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It’s one of the most pressing concerns of the wine industry, here in the US.

Selling wine directly to consumers, that is.

Last week, we were glad to drill down on that topic by featuring a case study of Medlock Ames Winery in Sonoma, and how they’re using data to address that concern. Medlock Ames’ president, Julie Rothberg, described her attitude toward data analysis, why it makes sense for their business, and her main takeaways from an initial analysis of their sales and product history.

This week, we’re looking at the HOW.

Addie Nichols-Petsu is the analyst Rothberg engaged, when it was time to put Medlock Ames’ historical data to use for the future. I hope you’ll enjoy this Q&A with Addie, as she describes her background (Agribusiness major at Cal Poly), the analysis itself (30+ files, millions of lines of data), and her suggestions for wineries in general as they look to increase the profitability of their DTC programs.

Please describe a bit about your experience in working with data. Do you come from the wine world? If not, do you think your perspective is useful when working with wine data?

I’ve grown up in the wine world, in a sense. I was raised on the Central Coast of California and went to Cal Poly as an Agribusiness major, so I started becoming aware and learning about wine while in college. Post college, I worked for Nielsen (market research company) and was assigned to be an Account Executive for West Coast wine (and beer) clients. Since then, I’ve remained in the wine and spirits industry, working for two large wine and spirits companies in analytical capacities. Julie and I worked together at my last company, which was how she and I knew each other. 

There are actually a lot of similarities between big wine companies and smaller ones, given the increasingly competitive nature of the wine industry with the proliferation of SKUs and brands. Understanding sales patterns, looking for growth opportunities and determining customer unmet needs are objectives of both big and small wine companies. The difference may be that smaller companies may not necessarily think that they can tap into these insights as easily.

Obviously, understanding industry nuances probably helped in working with this data because it likely cut down on the time I used and alleviated a lot of the questions I may have had if I didn’t have the knowledge. That being said, I still had questions since a winery [like Medlock Ames] that is primarily DTC operates very differently than a large corporate entity whose sales are primarily through a distributor in a chain environment.

What can you tell us about the analysis itself?

Can I start by saying I had so much fun with this analysis? Maybe it takes a data geek like me to be handed 30+ Excel files with millions of lines of rows and a puzzle to put together.  

Julie and I had two key introductory conversations where we fleshed out the objectives she wanted to accomplish, while I asked questions and got a general background on the business. That is key with any analysis like this. I was tasked with several different objectives that needed to be accomplished. Julie and her team had a wealth of data that really hadn’t been tapped to the extent it could be. Which, by the way, happens everywhere (even in big companies). I was really excited to work with a client that recognized they maybe had the answers at their finger tips, and had theories, and were open to what could be found and what the truth was.

They had questions around their wine club and the demographics and value behind their wine club members. For example, top level questions around where Club Members were located (and club member average spend by state) led to our seeing the potential to focus on marketing efforts outside of California. I was also able to provide new insights around the frequency of visits and the length and loyalty of some of their club members.  

While working on this project, I learned that club members on average remain with a winery for two years. Medlock Ames has some club members that are incredibly loyal (and spend quite a bit on club shipments), and I recommended that they could grow some of their business by focusing on these members and providing them incremental opportunities for purchasing product.  

During this analysis, we gained an understanding of the value of each type of wine club membership, as well as their behaviors and sales performance. This was key, as the information could be used to help Medlock Ames determine where they could potentially narrow wine club offerings with minimal impact.  

I think that some of the most fun and exciting parts of the analysis were the “surprises,” meaning the unasked parts that just presented themselves by putting the data into a reportable format. What we learned was that the “non club” member sales were quite valuable and could be a key lever to drive future growth within the winery. 

I was also tasked with helping Medlock Ames build some new easy to use reports that updated their business sales in ways not previously looked at (on a monthly basis), as well as some new inventory reporting tools that helped understand run rates and sales by month. 

What have you learned through working with Medlock Ames that you think could be useful for wineries in general, as they look to increase profitability in their DTC programs?  

  • I think that it was a fun and eye-opening exercise for Medlock Ames to "slice and dice” the data behind their club members in new ways. Outsourcing some of their questions, theories and needs CAN prove to be beneficial in finding areas to be tapped further.

  • One theory was that there were club members who were potentially taking advantage of some of the club benefits. What we found was that these club members were a very small part of the universe, but they drove growth in sales at 3X the rate of other club members. They are likely “unofficial ambassadors.”  From a value perspective, it appears to be a beneficial relationship in this particular instance. I can’t say that this would be the case everywhere, as I’m sure it depends on the COGs, the frequencies and the sales generated.

  • It’s important for other wineries to know that the information that they collect from their sales, production, inventory, and club members CAN be used to further drive sales, understand their opportunities for new growth, and keep a fingertip on their current business trends. It doesn’t have to require new headcount resources to make it happen. It just requires a little bit of curiosity and support at the Executive and Management levels.

Using Data to Sell Wine DTC: The Case Study of Medlock Ames

Photo Credit: Ames Morison, California Wine Country

Photo Credit: Ames Morison, California Wine Country

“Facts also need curiosity.”

If you remember nothing else about this week’s post, please remember those words.

They were spoken by Julie Rothberg, President of Medlock Ames Winery in Healdsburg, who’s the subject of our Q&A this week. Last week we promised to highlight more real-world case studies of people in the wine industry who are using data in smart ways to move their businesses forward, and Julie’s first in line.

That she adds curiosity to the facts of data is a very big reason why.

Please enjoy this interview about a very prominent topic in our industry right now, particularly for smaller to midsize wineries: selling wine Direct To Consumer.

Medlock Ames is all in on this front, as 100% of their sales are DTC. We hope very much that their perspective will inform, and help, your own.

How did you come to appreciate the value of data analysis?

Ever since my days at Columbia Business School and later as a management consultant, the power of data became clear. You can see it everywhere in our lives [where] facts and figures are used to provide validity to a point being made. Data lends credibility to your argument and allows for greater persuasion even when your “gut instinct” tells you what is right.

It’s amazing how simple-but-powerful insights about sales patterns, customer behavior or profitability can be in terms of driving your strategic thinking. I’ve found that facts help win an argument or provide persuasion. It’s a very useful management tool, either to get superiors to approve of your plans because they are rooted in logic or to persuade your team who are acting on assumptions. It’s hard to say no to facts. 

Facts also feed curiosity. 

How did you know that you wanted to apply data analysis to the DTC program at Medlock Ames?

 When I first got to Medlock Ames, I had all sorts of questions about our business which is unique in that it is 100% DTC through our wine club and tasting room, our Bell Mountain Ranch property, and online. But there weren’t a lot of answers to be found and even less data being used. This is pretty typical with smaller wineries, as often data mining software solutions or deep analytics work can be costly or overwhelming. 

We had the data in our ecommerce and point of sale systems; it just wasn’t being analyzed. There was clearly so much potential to be unearthed. I wanted to take a fresh approach and use the past to help us decide how to move forward into the future. Proving to the team that some practices were harmful not only to our image but factually to our bottom line was a powerful first step in changing behaviors.

What steps did you take (are you taking) to identify patterns in your sales and product history?

The first step was to identify a partner who understands how to manipulate data in a way to derive meaningful insights. I had the perfect person in mind as I’ve worked with Addie Nichols-Petsu before. The next step was to source the data, so we pulled two years of our club member and sales history. Lastly, we talked through probing questions to provide guidance before we started digging in.

When I got to Medlock Ames, there were four levels of club membership with different customizations that translated into 14 different types of clubs to be managed. Club membership came with lots of perks including a range of discounting and unlimited visits to our tasting room.  The focus wasn’t as much on the delicious wines and the access to club-only wines that members were getting which really is a top benefit to being a club member. In looking at the various tiers, there wasn’t a clear understanding about the value of each of them, or the maintenance cost of each. 

In hospitality, we want customers to get the full immersive experience to really understand and soak up Medlock Ames. It’s critical that we are able to provide a warm, inclusive and educational experience to everyone we interact with. Yet no one knew how profitable each tier of membership was, for example, or what the value to customers might be for free shipping for those who live far away, compared to more frequent visits to our tasting room for those who live nearby. 

I also wanted to really understand our customer profiles. Who were our most valuable club members? Where did they live? How long were they in the club? What benefits were most important to them? And what did their behaviors mean to our business?

What are your main takeaways from this initial analysis for Medlock Ames?

  1. Customization of our offerings and experiences is critical. The average spend for our California customers is at least $65 less than our next five biggest states. However, we pull heavily from the Bay Area, and we now know these “locals” are more likely to come to visit us frequently, bring friends and buy more wine. For those who live farther away, we want to ensure we’re connecting with them on a different level. We are launching “Medlock Ames On the Road” as an outreach effort for greater connectivity with our customers in their homes and home markets.

  2. It’s not just about The Club. In the past year, a quarter of our sales were to non-club members and this group is driving declines whereas our club members are driving sales in the double digits. This points to us being so focused on bringing people into the club which is a success, but we need to recognize that not everyone will want to be part of a club. 

  3. Reward loyalty. While the industry standard is for club members to only stay in a club for about two years, we have a pretty healthy number who have been with us for five to ten years or more. There is the opportunity to do more to offer different wines or experiences to our most loyal club members to keep their experiences fresh, while continuing to offer them value as club members beyond the wines.

  4. Wine clubs are so much more than just the quarterly shipments and free tastings. We have many club members who get three bottles quarterly and, while they are the heaviest users of our tasting room, they also are more likely to bring friends to introduce to Medlock Ames and our wine club. They also are more likely to take advantage of our sporadic ecommerce offerings of library or special format wines, adding to their collections. We cherish these club members and love that they come to visit us often to engage with our team and enjoy the wines.

It’s Our Three-Year Anniversary, and We Need Your Help

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The landscape of data in the wine industry has changed quite a bit, we think, from when we launched Enolytics three years ago.

To be specific, we mean that it’s changed for the better.

These days, we’re finding that people are more willing to have the conversations, to ask the questions, to say outright that they don’t know everything they need to know about data (even about their own data), but they know there’s value to it. They also know that their businesses will benefit from putting the data to use.

We’re seeing this in many iterations, from large organizations with sophisticated tools who are looking to be more nimble, to medium-size organizations who are looking to inform their strategies with fresh sources of data, to small organizations who are taking a very focused look at their own customer purchase data in order to derive a competitive edge.

We’re very hopeful about these developments, and we’d like nothing better than to tell their stories and shine a light on them. Partly to spread the sense of possibility, and partly also give you tangible, real-world applications that you can use as inspiration.

This is where we need your help.

Starting next week we’ll be incorporating more of these real-world examples into this Enolytics 101 series. First up is a small Sonoma winery that’s applying deep analytics to the DTC channel, to identify patterns in their sales and product history.

How you can help is to let us know of other examples whose work deserves to be highlighted. Who has put data to good use, and made progress for their business?

Please let us know. You all have a lot of ideas and you are very responsive to our requests for suggestions, even for something like a podcast playlist from a few weeks ago.

We appreciate that.

Now let’s shift the lens a bit. Toot your own horn if you like, or recommend a colleague.

We’ve been able to see the landscape of data change these past three years, but we’re sure there’s a lot we don’t know about what’s currently underway.

Help us shine a light.

Drop me a line. I’m looking forward, as always, to your thoughts and ideas.

Thank you,

Cathy

The Crossover of Wine + Data with Beer and Spirits

Photo Credit: Beverage Daily

Photo Credit: Beverage Daily

We’ve got a friend who runs a very successful brewery, here in Atlanta. He’s a fantastic businessman and, by his own admission, not a data guy per se.

But he knows there’s something there, that will probably help his company do even better than it already is.

That’s why he’s asked us to come and have a look at their beer + data and (as you probably expect, or anyone working with a distributor will know) it looks a lot like what we’ve seen from within the wine world.

The shape of data varies by source and by the way it’s been developed, of course, but here’s what it all has in common: at its root, we’re talking about zeroes and ones.

This more recent experience with beer data reminds me of a few conversations we had shortly after we launched Enolytics three years ago.

One was about spirits – gin, specifically – and whether or not what we’re doing with data for wine can also be applied to data for spirits.

[The answer is Yes.]

The second conversation was with Wine-Searcher.com, when we were talking about wine data and I asked them if they happened to know of a similar large-footprint source for beer.

“We do know of a fantastic source for beer, and cider also,” they said.

“Is it similar to Wine-Searcher?” I asked.

“It IS Wine-Searcher,” they said. Not a lot of people know this, they explained, but Wine-Searcher has long been tracking spirits, beer and cider the same way they track wine. It’s just that the site isn’t called Spirits-Searcher or Beer-Searcher or Cider-Searcher, so it gets a lot less attention.

“Hmm,” we said. 

To venture beyond wine, we’d need to source some new data sources that are specific to beer and spirits, of course. But data from other partners that we already have will become even more useful – such as alcohol delivery services where beer and spirits, just like wine, are all products and SKUs on the same par.

Candidly, this is another direction that we didn’t anticipate when we started this business. It’s also another example of the applications that are possible when your foundation (that is, the skills in the analysis and interpretation of data) are rock solid.

Let’s keep building, and keep making this industry smarter.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

Cathy

I Heart Engineers and Analysts. Here are Three Reasons Why.

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First let me say Thank You, very much, for your podcast recommendations last week. I love that there are so many diverse options out there (wine and otherwise!), and that so many of you are enthusiastic listeners. It’s given me ideas, and lots to think about.

This week I wanted to share some other eye-openers that have crossed our desks lately: three ways that Enolytics’ data team engages in the wine world, that we in no way anticipated when we launched the business three years ago. 

These examples reflect the desire, and the need we think, for strong engineering and analysis skills applied to the wine industry. They make a difference, because they expand decision making from “gut” to “head.” We rely on them both, and we’re energized by these possibilities to expand the thinking even further.

Here goes, with three recent examples we’re working on.

Data, Wine Tourism, and Boosting Domestic Consumption

An emerging wine region wants to boost domestic consumption from 30% to 50%, and they want to further develop their wine tourism initiatives as a strategy to achieving this goal. An early step is to add winery and wine information to a central database. From there the region’s app, which already exists, can populate via the database’s API. They can also choose to invest in analysis and documentation of their existing vineyards, whose geolocation can also be integrated with the app. Tourists, then, can access several kinds of information from a single source: winery location and mapping, visitor essentials like opening hours and directions, and wine availability and expectations. It adds up to a better consumer experience which, expectedly, can boost sales and move toward domestic consumption goals.

Analyze Investment Risk

We’re forging a partnership with a climate analysis company for whom agriculture (including vineyards) is an important category. They’ve developed algorithms to assess risk by considering factors as diverse as wildfire exposure to Employee Impact from natural disasters. My appreciation, as someone who is not a engineer, centers on the humanity of the algorithm. Certainly we’re talking about risk and investment and bottom line here, but the people in the equation matter too.

Normalizing Consumer Data

One of the most dynamic types projects we work on involve millions of wine consumer data records. Which sounds big and sexy and it is, but the bigness of it can be hard to handle. A variable we need to consider is the relative usage of consumer-facing wine apps over time, from which the raw data comes. Our team needs to “normalize” the records — which in this case is ridiculously hard to do — but otherwise the results wouldn’t be optimized for accuracy. Which we think is pretty much the whole point.

*****

Thank you, as always, for reading. As always also, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Please note: There won’t be an Enolytics 101 post next week, as we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day!

Cathy

Request for Your Help: Podcasts, and Listening Beyond Data + Wine

Image Credit: Simone Becchetti

Image Credit: Simone Becchetti

I admit it.

I’m behind the curve — woefully so — when it comes to podcasts, especially listening to them or even creating our own.

But boy is this a “miss” that I want to correct. That’s the one thing I’m certain of, as I’ve been listening to more and more podcasts these past few weeks that friends and colleagues have recommended.

(Two in particular that stand out, just in the past three days? The Origin Story and Women in Wine podcasts. My goodness.)

Which ones do you listen to? No, wait. Which ones do you love?

Here’s why I’m dying to know:

Podcasts humanize the subject in a way that is, for me, mind-opening.

Remember, I’m new to this. But I’m pretty sure it has something to do with voice, and the fact that I’m usually listening to podcasts with these crazy huge over-the-ears headphones because for whatever reason my ears can’t do ear buds or Air Pods.

The point is that hearing people’s voices, on a topic that I’m interested in, is intimate. Which means that I care. Which means that, if I listen all the way to the end, I care even more then than I did at the beginning.

That’s powerful.

So I did something this week that I never (never) do. I went back and re-listened to some podcasts I’ve joined as a guest, to talk about Enolytics and the work that we do. Like this short one from South Africa. And this one from CKLU radio station in Ontario, Canada. And this one with Sam and John in Sonoma, which was almost as much fun to listen to as it was to record.

What did I hear?

Conversations that, I hope, animate wine + data for listeners in interesting ways. But even moreso, I hope that listeners hear what’s human about this work. The questions, usually from the hosts, are human, real questions. The people on our team are human and imperfect. The people we work for are human and vulnerable.

Maybe you’ve tuned in because the topic is wine + data. But maybe you listen all the way to the end because the voices go beyond that.

I would like to do more of this, more humanizing of wine + data beyond the topic of wine + data.

Can I ask for your help?

Please tell me what you’d like to hear. No, wait. What would you like to hear, that would make you listen all the way to the end?

Drop me a note. I’m listening.

Thank you,

Cathy

Straight from the Source of Working with Data + Wine: Mitch Berkoff of 3x3 Insights

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“The stories of data in the wine world, told by the people who actually live it.”

That’s how I introduced the straight-from-the-source” series within Enolytics 101, to highlight the people of wine who work with data every day. The first installment featured Randy Browne, Business Analytics & Insights Lead at C. Mondavi & Family and here were three of his most resonant takeaways:

  • The more time you spend with data, the more muscle memory is formed. You and your team learn what to focus on.

  • You need to take control of where you want your business to go. Relationships help, but how is your product going to outperform the other 1000+ SKUs on the shelf?

  • The “data voice” should have a seat at the table when it comes to all key strategic decisions of the business.

How these things actually happen is the point of this straight-from-the-source series, because we want to draw back the curtain on a day in the life of working with data in wine.

Which brings us to today’s post featuring Mitch Berkoff, Director of Delivery at 3x3 Insights in New York. In this role, Mitch oversees all aspects of data delivery and client management of all clients in the wine, beer, and spirit categories. His responsibilities include data curation, report design, and working on site with clients and their various business units to leverage the full potential of 3x3 Insight’s consumer profile and product data.   

We asked Mitch the same questions we asked Randy and the results, we hope, share this common denominator: they humanize data for wine. These are real people doing real work in wine, and they make data personal.

We hope you enjoy the interview, and the perspective that Mitch brings to real world challenges in the industry.

How did you learn about data? How did you get comfortable with it, as something you “do” as part of your everyday job? 

My relationship with data started at a very young age, growing up in my family’s liquor stores (Bev Max in Connecticut). From the time I was five years old, I remember riding around with my dad to the stores every single Saturday. We would stand in different aisles and near the register for hours just observing and taking it in. I quickly realized that this was my dad’s way of staying in tune with what was going on in the store. This is before the days that POS systems became widely adopted by liquor stores. He didn’t have a way to track product movement and gain insight from it. If my father wanted to know what was selling, he’d have to go on the floor and interact with customers and see how they’re behaving three feet from the shelf. Before retail analytics and category management gained notoriety, through the power of observation my father would identify loss leaders, develop merchandising strategies, re-arrange the store layout, determine pricing, etc. Having the experience of seeing my dad operate with very little data, highlighted the significance of needing data to drive the decision making process.

Fast forward a decade, and technology progressed…somewhat. I got more involved in different facets of the business, and quickly realized that the information we had was still not enough to be able to operate at our highest level. We began investing heavily in building our own reporting infrastructure, which definitely had positive ROI. So you can say I learned about data, because I essentially grew up in it.  But my love and passion of data has grown and evolved since my time working in the family business.

What value does working with data add to your role on a day-to-day basis?  

Data is an integral part of my role on a day-to-day basis. As a member of the 3x3 Insights team, I work with our supplier partners to deliver them product performance and consumer insights on the independent liquor channel.

More powerful than providing suppliers with data, though, is our ability to connect suppliers with retailers in our network to create and measure action with the data we collect. For example, we’re working with some suppliers to measure sales of a product pre-, during, and post- in-store-tasting to measure lift in sales in those accounts and measure the ROI within the 3x3 network. With other suppliers, we’re testing displays and products in different areas of the store to understand the impact the move has on their performance. Everything we do with our supplier partners is through the lens of measure and optimize, when it comes to crafting data driven selling stories, product and display tests, and measuring marketing ROI. 

What’s the biggest challenge you face, when it comes to data in the wine world?  

The wine category presents a number of unique challenges as it relates to my role and our mission at 3x3 Insights. From a data perspective, the number of products, varietals, and vintages makes maintaining our wine database a constant effort. Unlike spirits, there’s a large number of varietals, vintages, and producers. UPC info also gets a little fuzzy as you progress down the long tail of the wine market with smaller producers. I believe this challenge will continue to escalate as the trend of retailers stocking more and more wine SKU’s that are not national brands becomes more widely adopted. Retailers are increasing their selection of wines to account for rapidly changing consumer taste, and to differentiate their store from big box stores where you aren’t as likely to see more premium or smaller batch wines.

As far as feedback from wine suppliers, they’re excited to be accessing category data for the independent channel for a number of reasons.

First, is that the independent channel is becoming their primary channel for higher end and premium wines. Suppliers are also acknowledging that customers in a wine shop or liquor store behave much differently than those shopping in a supermarket or big box store and need data to meet the needs of consumers in the wine shops and liquor stores. With our data, they are tailoring their approach to selling into and maintaining these types of accounts.

Second, as the number of wine SKU’s in the store and on the shelf increases, it’s becoming harder to secure space for your brand. Being able to demonstrate to a retailer that your product is going to bring in new customers, build bigger baskets, and help that retailer differentiate themselves from the competition is almost a requirement to getting your product in the store, which is where we help.

This Week’s Very Big News About Wine + Data, and Why You Should Care

Left to right: Matthew Protti (CEO – BlackSquare), Madeline Puckette (Co-Founder – Folly Enterprises), Ben Andrews (Co-Founder – Folly Enterprises), David Gluzman (CEO – Folly Enterprises)

Left to right: Matthew Protti (CEO – BlackSquare), Madeline Puckette (Co-Founder – Folly Enterprises), Ben Andrews (Co-Founder – Folly Enterprises), David Gluzman (CEO – Folly Enterprises)

Let me approach this week’s post the way an old-school journalist would, with the who-what-where-when-why.

WHO: The Global Wine Database (GWDB) and Wine Folly, in particular David Gluzman and Madeline Puckette, respectively.

WHAT: The two businesses are merging.

WHERE: Geographically, GWDB is in Calgary, Wine Folly is in Seattle.

WHEN: The merger was announced officially last week, on April 3.

WHY (a.k.a., the best part): To design the interface for the human experience of wine information.

Let’s pause for a moment right here.

“To design the interface for the human experience of wine information.”

As you no doubt know, there is an endless stream of wine information being generated every moment of every day. The fact that businesses in the industry don’t do such a great job yet with all of that information is a big reason why Enolytics exists.

GWDB knows this too, especially since they’re the ones who have set themselves the Herculean goal of collecting accurate data about the world’s wines all under one roof.

Wine Folly definitely knows this, since Puckette has long been a thought leader on compelling, visually engaging infographics about the world of wine. During Vinitaly just this past week, in fact, she was recognized for this work by winning the IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year award.

So, we have on our hands a very significant coming together for anyone who cares about wine + data, as I assume you do.

On one hand, accurate technical data about wine.

On the other hand, great visual storytelling of that data that will boost the human experience of wine out of the spreadsheets that have held it captive for so long.

It’s just as the motto for the new Folly Enterprises states: Engaging, informative and accurate wine information for the world.

Right??

At Enolytics, we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the news of this merger. It’s good news, for all of us who care about business intelligence, compelling narratives, and accurate data – all in service of the human experience of wine.

Please reach out with any questions or comments, and thank you as always for reading.

Cathy

Enolytics is Shortlisted in the Born Digital Wine Awards’ Innovation Category

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So yeah. We’re pretty stoked about it.

Partly that’s because being shortlisted for the Born Digital Wine Awards’ (BDWA) Innovation category positions Enolytics alongside some of the people we respect most in the industry. (Please read the full announcement here.) We respect these colleagues because they stick their neck out, and because of their belief that the wine industry can keep doing better, even when that belief isn’t always the most popular one.

We believe that too: that the wine industry can keep doing better. In fact that’s how we answered one of the questions in Round Two of the BDWA selection process. The question was, “What does winning the Innovation award mean to you?”

It’s a vote for collaboration in the wine world, we replied.

It’s a validation of an idea, and an endorsement of an effort to push the envelope.

Even moreso, though, was this second part of our answer that had to do with motivation, and our “why”:

We are motivated internally. We are determined for Enolytics to add value to the industry, and we will continue on that path whether or not we receive external validation.

Please don’t get me wrong. We are grateful, deeply and sincerely, for the external validation and recognition of our work. And it will help, without a doubt. In fact it already has.

We’re just saying that we’d do the work anyway.

Because it matters, and we’re stoked most of all to be able to keep doing it.

THANK YOU.

Happily, we’d also like to highlight two additional developments related to the BDWA news:

  1. A Balanced Glass, founded by Rebecca Hopkins, has also been shortlisted for the Innovation Award. The ABG community of wine professionals prioritizes wellness and balance in our lives, and I’m proud to say that I contribute content to the site every other week. Two other nominees for the Innovation Award, Robert Hopkins and Stevie Kim at Wine2Wine, have also encouraged and supported Enolytics in various capacities.

  2. My article on Forbes.com that featured fellow wine writer Julia Coney was shortlisted in the Best Interview category: “It’s Like Mansplaining, but for Race”: What the Wine Industry Can Learn about Black Consumers. The article was about Julia, but it’s really about how she pushes the envelope too.

Please have a look at all the BDWA news here.

Thank you, again –

Cathy

The Roller Coaster Ride That Is Enolytics: Ups, Downs, Tipping Points, and Loop the Loops

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Before we launched Enolytics, many of you were familiar with my writing on wine for Forbes online. Contributing to Forbes was a boon to my career as a writer, as it enabled me to explore the wine industry and to study the nuances of its business from the inside out. Since my particular “beat” in the column was technology, it was during this time that the kernel of the idea for Enolytics began to take shape.

Once we launched in 2016, my editors at Forbes halted my writing about technology and, though I am still an enthusiastic contributor at Forbes on other areas of the wine business, I also began writing for Inc online about entrepreneurship, particularly in the wine and hospitality space. The Inc platform, too, has opened exceptional opportunities for exploring the nuances of business, this time through the entrepreneurial lens.

An article I posted this week outlines a pivotal moment along the entrepreneurial journey of Enolytics: when to decide to scale the business. You are welcome to read the original post over on Inc.com but here are the key takeaways for anyone who’s experienced the vertigo of the roller coaster ride that is the startup world.

  • We knew what Enolytics’ initial offering was but we also knew that, since data analysis was (and is) still a new concept for the wine industry, we'd have to be nimble and responsive to the needs that were being expressed. This meant a lot of listening and, for the sake of our bottom line, even more understanding of how to scale what seemed at first to be one-off or custom projects.

  • It isn't easy. There are projects we're managing now that frankly we couldn't have anticipated when we launched, and were not even on our radar during the writing of our business plan.

  • There was no way we could have anticipated the particular development of Enolytics Spain, because we couldn't have predicted that there was a data group in Madrid who had been planning to do very much the same thing. There was no way to know, until we launched and the idea was "out there."

  • Shortly after Andrés Bonet contacted me about a satellite office in Madrid, where he lives, he drove to Bordeaux to meet me; I'd been teaching at a university there that week. We sat and talked on the edge of a fish market, with a few burly and very vocal fishmongers in the background, in the midst of a bustling Saturday morning market in November.

  • The business is data is transacted in zeroes and ones, of course, but face-to-face was where the business of our partnership was transacted. (Accompanied by the soundtrack of fishmongers throwing fish.)

The essence of entrepreneurship is putting a new idea out there. Something, probably many things, are bound to go wrong. But it's what you'll learn along the way that make launching the idea — and its subsequent iterations — worth doing.

When the Gears Shift in Hall 10 at Prowein: Wine + Data in Spain [Bilingual Edition]

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It was a little bit like feeling the gears shift.

Not literally, of course. But walking the aisles this year in Hall 10 at Prowein in Düsseldorf was that different than walking the same aisles last year.

Last year, talking with Spanish wineries alongside Andrés Bonet-Merten, the lead at the Enolytics Spain office in Madrid, felt a lot like trying to shift from park to first gear when you’re just getting the hang of a manual transmission. It was all very new, with not much momentum to help things along.

This year, however, while talking with Spanish wineries with Andrés, we heard some things that indicated an encouraging increase of momentum.

  1. We heard from a surprising number of wineries how much they’re already investing in various sources of data. Their question: “We have data from here, and data from there, and plus we have our own data. Why should we work with you?” Our answer: “Congratulations! You’re way ahead of the curve when you have multiple sources of data. We’re here to help you actually put that data to use. We know how to make those data sets talk to one another, and interpret them, to tell you what you need to know to move your business forward.”

  2. We heard about projects wineries have underway, or are about to start, that can be significantly informed by various platforms in our ecosystem of data partners. Some projects are viticultural in nature, others relate to enotourism, and still others are about ecommerce activity in target markets in the US. We’re happy to be the link between these wineries and the data partners who are best suited to help them, even if Enolytics’ services aren’t required beyond connecting the dots.

  3. We heard about the blindspot that is the end consumer’s behavior around the wines of a particular winery or organization. This is not a new observation or a new pain point, but we’re in a significantly better position now to be able to respond to it directly.

And etc.

It felt like progress. Which brought a fair amount of joy.

There’s joy in the work itself. There’s joy in contributing to things that make a difference. And there will be joy akin to successfully shifting into higher gears, with only the open road ahead. 

Thank you, very much, for being along for the ride. We’re excited to report back as things progress. 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or ideas.
Cathy

*****

Sintiendo cómo se sube de marcha en el pabellón 10 en Prowein: Vino + Datos en España

Fue un poco como sintiendo que se subía de marchas.

No literalmente, claro. Pero caminando por los pasillos este año por el pabellón 10 de Prowein en Düsseldorf, fue diferente que cuando caminamos los mismos pasillos el año pasado.

El año pasado, conversando con las bodegas españolas acompañado por Andrés Bonet-Merten, el director de Enolytics Spain, nuestra oficina en Madrid, me sentí en gran parte como si intentase cambiar de marcha, de aparcado a primera, en un cambio de marchas manual. Fue todo muy nuevo, sin inercia que ayudase al asunto.

Este año, en cambio, al hablar con las bodegas con la ayuda de Andrés, escuchamos algunas cosas que indicaban un esperanzador aumento de impulso oportuno.

  1. Escuchamos de un asombroso número de bodegas cuánto ya están invirtiendo en distintas fuentes de datos. Su pregunta: “Tenemos datos de aquí y datos de allá y también tenemos nuestros datos propios. ¿Por qué deberíamos trabajar con vosotros?” Nuestra respuesta: “¡Enhorabuena! Estás por encima de la media si tienes múltiples   fuentes de datos. Estamos aquí precisamente para ayudarte a poner en uso esos datos. Sabemos cómo hacer para que cada uno de esos paquetes de datos hablen uno con el otro e interpretarlos para contarte lo que necesitas saber para hacer avanzar tu negocio.”

  2. Nos comentaron proyectos de bodegas que están en proceso de diseñarse o que están a punto de empezar que pueden obtener información relevante de varias plataformas de datos de nuestro ecosistema. Algunos proyectos son de creación de viñedos, otros de enoturismo y hasta otros son de comercio online en estados concretos de Estados Unidos. Estamos contentos de ser el enlace entre esas bodegas y nuestros proveedores y partners de datos que mejor se adaptan para ayudarles, incluso en el caso de que los servicios de Enolytics ni siquiera se hayan requerido para conectar los dos lados.

  3. Escuchamos acerca de los ángulos muertos en los retrovisores que son los comportamientos de los consumidores finales entorno a los vinos de ciertas bodegas u organizaciones. Este no es un comentario nuevo o un enigma nuevo, pero estamos en un punto significativamente mejor ahora para responder a él sin cortapisas.

Y etc.

Lo sentimos como un progreso, lo que nos trajo una gran alegría.

Sentimos alegría en el trabajo en sí mismo. Hay alegría en contribuir a cosas que marcan una diferencia. Y habrá alegría parecida cambiando de marchas a superiores con éxito, con toda la carretera por delante.

Gracias, de verdad, por estar ahí en el viaje. Estamos entusiasmados de informar otra vez a medida que todo progrese.

Como siempre, por favor házmelo saber si tienes alguna pregunta o idea.
Cathy

The Thing We Don’t Do Well. And Yes, I’m Feeling Sheepish About It.

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Let me start this week with an admission that, frankly, has me feeling a little sheepish.

We (Enolytics, that is) are not so good yet at telling stories.

At telling the stories of wine + data, I mean, which is something that I feel sheepish about because, as a writer, storytelling is what I do. Or at least it should be.

The thing is that telling stories with words is different than telling stories with images. Visualizations are what gives data its unique flavor and advantage when it comes to influencing decisions in one direction or another.

We need some more practice at this.

Because it isn’t typically a visual of data per se that gets any of us up out of our chairs and running down the hall to convince our boss to do something, or even to run to the store and buy a bottle of wine.

What gets us up out of our chairs is that irresistible flash of NOW I GET IT. That flash happens when one part of what we understand strikes with another part, like a match head dragged along a surface followed by that satisfying sizzle.

That’s what happened to me this week, when I attended the International Institute for Analytics conference in Portland, Oregon. I was there to talk about “uncorking analytics” and how the wine industry is moving toward data-driven decisions. But fortunately, and happily, I was also able to sit in on other presentations that were happening throughout the day.

One in particular was given by Brent Dykes of DOMO, on the subject of “Mastering the Art and Science of Storytelling.” My takeaway from Brent’s presentation, the one that got me up out of my seat so to speak, was this:

The data to find the right insight may not be the right data to tell the story.

We work hard to analyze and interpret the data in order to deliver the right insight that is meaningful and helpful to you. That’s the match head.

But there’s also the way that we light that match, which is the surface we drag it against that makes you say NOW I GET IT.

They’re two different things. The insight itself, and the story that brings the story to life. The match head, and the surface.

You help us to start with data from the wine world (and about the wine world), but the insight and the story are on us. I’m personally looking forward to doing more of this, more effectively.

Thank you for reading, and for joining us on this journey. We learn more, and try to do better, every day.

Cathy

Magic, Step One and Magic, Step Two: Piecing Together the Puzzle of Wine + Data

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Think of putting together a puzzle.

First you need multiple pieces, each with their own shape and contour.

Then you start experimenting with how they fit together. Some are bigger, some are smaller. Some have straight edges, some are right smack in the middle of things.

One by one, and after some trial and error, you nestle the pieces together, using visual “clues” like color and imagery to see and feel what works best.

Eventually it comes together, and the final picture emerges into full view.

That’s exactly how it’s felt this week here at Enolytics, as we’ve been preparing for two conferences next week: the British Columbia Wine Industry Insight Conference on Tuesday in Penticton, and the International Institute for Analytics Conference on Wednesday in Portland, Oregon.

We thought of the presentation as a puzzle, one that would be of interest to the different audiences: “wine people” in BC, and “data people” in Portland.

We needed multiple pieces of the puzzle, so we reached out to our ecosystem of data partners and asked for their own, uniquely shaped and contoured “data pieces” that are relevant to BC and Oregon wine.

Some of those pieces are bigger, some are smaller. Some form the boundaries of the puzzle, and some are right smack in the middle of things.

This was the Magic, Step One: the willingness of data partners to pull specific, relevant data and add it to our puzzle. Getting to know the contours of these different data sets, and the different personalities of their owners, has been fascinating.

One by one, and by using “clues” like shared points of commonality, we’ve been working to nestle the pieces together.

That was the Magic, Step Two: the seams where different data pieces meet, and seeing the bigger picture evolve when multiple sets of data merge, side by side.

I can’t wait to present this process, and these steps, and the end results. In the meantime, I am deeply grateful to our partners who support the vision, who continue doing what they do, who keep shaping their own pieces of the puzzle.

It adds up to something special.

Will you be attending either of those conferences next week? Or Prowein in Düsseldorf, next weekend? Please let me know. I’d be psyched to connect IRL.

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

The Head Tilt Question, When It’s More DATA than Wine

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When Enolytics is recognized by colleagues or media in the wine industry for what we do, it’s always a boost both commercially and emotionally.

When we’re recognized for what we do by people outside the wine industry, however, it’s always a little bit of a head tilt sideways.

As in, “Hmm. Now that’s interesting.”

That’s what’s happening this month, as I look ahead to travel and conference presentations where we have the opportunity to share our work with colleagues within the industry, and outside of it as well.

The biggest surprise of the itinerary, for this month and later this year as well, are invitations that arrived from the analytics and data community. They aren’t wine people, but they’re curious about how we’re using “their” expertise and applying it to wine.

It’s a little bit of a head tilt of their own.

(Which I love.)

Here are three such opportunities this month alone. The middle one, in British Columbia, aligns most directly with what we do. The other two tilt a little sideways, in the best ways.

*****

WHAT: Wonder Women of Wine Conference

WHERE: Austin, Texas

WHEN: March 2 and 3

WHY: I’ve been asked to join the “Ready for Liftoff” panel about women entrepreneurs in the industry, alongside Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & Francois Selections, Mary Derby of DAMA Wines, Julia Dixon of The Gravity Imports, and Amy Bess Cook of WOW Sonoma.

TAKEAWAY: There’s a lot of hype around the statistics of venture capital for women (paltry) and the multiplicity of challenges for female founders (mostly spot-on). Yet women entrepreneurs, and tech-focused entrepreneurs, are making it happen in the wine industry regardless.

 *****

WHAT: British Columbia Wine Industry Insight Conference

WHERE: Penticton, British Columbia

WHEN: March 12

WHY: How can the BC wine industry can benefit from big data? That’s the question they’re asking in the Okanagan Valley. I’ll be thrilled to share some thoughts on a response, and revisit a region I previously enjoyed tremendously.

TAKEAWAY: A major theme in my presentation is to shine the spotlight on a variety of data partners and platforms within our ecosystem, who the BC wine community can tap in to. The more pieces of the data puzzle we can put together, the more comprehensive and beneficial the picture becomes. In the BC region, that is, and as a model for others.

*****

WHAT: International Institute for Analytics Conference

WHERE: Portland, Oregon

WHEN: March 13

WHY: The title of the session says it all, I think. “Uncorking Analytics: Moving the Wine Industry Towards Data-Driven Decisions.” Yes, it’s the last session of the day and yes, wine will be poured. But the audience? Data people, inside and out, who spend their working lives thinking about analytics and visualizations.

SPECIAL NOTE: The day before, the Institute has scheduled a Women in Analytics Networking happy hour. Sign me up.

*****

Any chance you’re going to be attending any of these events? Please let me know. I’d be psyched to talk IRL.

Thank you for reading, as always —

Cathy

Free Webinar Invitation from Enolytics Spain: The International Perspective on Data + Wine

FreeWebinar.jpg

What does data + wine mean to you?

Ask that question anywhere in the US, from New York to Napa, and we hear a certain kind of response.

Ask that question outside US borders, however, and the response takes on a whole other accent.

This week we’re focusing on the Spanish accent, in particular.

That’s because the Enolytics Spain team in Madrid has been hard at work sharing both content and education around the possibilities for doing better wine business through the intelligent use of data.

They have also been listening, very hard, to questions from wineries and organizations on the ground in their region. Bottom line? Questions about data + wine in Spain are not the same as questions about data + wine in the US. And we don’t just mean linguistically.

Which is why we want to spend some time addressing the unique concerns the Madrid team is hearing, by speaking directly to the robust following they have built over the past twelve+ months since the launch of Enolytics Spain.

Please feel free to join, especially if you are a Spanish speaker and/or you have a particular interest in the Spanish market.

  • Here’s how: Free Webinar Hosted by Enolytics Spain

  • Here’s when: Wednesday, March 6 at 1 pm local time in Madrid

  • Here’s why: To see what’s possible, and get your questions answered

The webinar will be held in Spanish (except for my brief introduction), and we encourage you to send your suggestions ahead of time for what you’d like to see covered.

We’ll send more information as the time gets closer. In the meantime, please grab your seat today by emailing Andrés Bonet in Madrid directly at andres@enolytics.es

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support –

Cathy and Andrés


Invitación gratuita al webinar de Enolytics Spain:

Perspectiva internacional sobre Big Data + Vino

¿Qué significado tiene para ti Big Data + Vino?

Pregunta por esta cuestión en cualquier lado de los EE.UU., desde Nueva York hasta Napa, y obtendremos algunas respuestas.

Pregunta por ello fuera de EE.UU. y de cualquier forma se obtendrá una respuesta con un acento completamente distinto.

Esta semana en particular enfocaremos el acento español.

Esto va a ser así porque el equipo de Enolytics Spain en Madrid ha estado trabajando duro compartiendo contenido y formación entorno a las posibilidades de ejecutar mejor el negocio vitivinícola utilizando con inteligencia el Big Data.

También han estado prestando atención a las cuestiones surgidas desde las bodegas de su país. ¿Lo básico que se planteó? Las cuestiones sobre Datos + Vino en España no son lo mismo que las que se plantean en EE.UU.. Y no sólo queremos decir que sean diferencias lingüísticas.

Este es el porqué de que queramos dedicar algún tiempo a los temas únicos que el equipo de Madrid está percibiendo desde más de 12 meses -desde el lanzamiento de Enolytics Spain- hablando directamente sobre ellos.

Por favor únete sin más reparos al webinar, especialmente si eres hispanoparlante y/o si tienes un interés especial en el mercado español.

  • Aquí tienes el cómo: webinar gratuito conducido por Enolytics Spain

  • Aquí tienes el cuándo: miércoles 6 de marzo, 13:00h (hora de Madrid)

  • Aquí tienes el porqué: para ver lo que es posible y recibir respuestas a tus preguntas

El webinar se desarrollará en el idioma español (excepto una breve introducción mía) y os animamos a enviar vuestras propuestas de lo que quereis que se trate, por adelantado.

Enviaremos más información a medida que nos acerquemos a la fecha. Mientras tanto, por favor reserva tu plaza aún hoy enviando un correo directamente a Madrid a Andrés Bonet, andres@enolytics.es

Gracias por vuestro continuo interés y apoyo –

Cathy y Andrés