Mapping the Words of Wine, in Multiple Languages


In one of the very first meetings I ever had with a potential data partner, we got to talking about words.

As in, the words that consumers use when they’re describing wine. When they’re adding a tasting note into one of the consumer-facing apps or platforms, what is the actual language that’s used? What words do they use, and how do the words vary or change over time?

Can we know that? I asked the data partner. Can we know the language and the words that a consumer in, say, Boston uses to describe a wine compared to a consumer in Houston, or Seattle?

Taking it a step further even, can we study the data used by consumers internationally? In Singapore, say, compared to Sydney or Siena or San Francisco?

Is that possible? I asked my data partner.

It is possible, he said, and then he asked me something that I’ll always remember.

“What language do you want that in?”

Well alright, I thought. It’s cool enough that you have the data to do this. You don’t have to show off about doing it in different languages!

We laughed about that. But it was funny mostly because it’s true.

Consumers around the world do use different words to describe wine, and naturally they use them in their own language.

So our team built an algorithm to map those words, so that we could study them and compare and contrast how consumers themselves, in different geographies, communicate about wine.

We did it first in English, and for the next few weeks we’ll be using that same algorithm to map words in different languages like German and Italian. Spanish and French, we think, won’t be far behind.

As a writer and communicator, I’m all juiced up about this. Words! Speaking to wine lovers! Using the words they’re already using! That they already know, that are already familiar...!

We’re bridging the distance between wine and the people drinking it. That’s empowering to the producers and a winery’s marketing team.

Most of all, we’re putting the data to use, in order to communicate better, in order to sell more wine, in order to have a better overall experience at every step of the way.

How are consumers talking about your wine? Let us show you.

Please be in touch with suggestions or questions, and thank you, as always, for reading.