data analysis

Two Free Opportunities for You, in Wine + Data


This week I’d like to share two opportunities with you, and I hope very much that you’ll join in.

Opportunity One: Highlight Your Wines and Your Work in Data

Earlier this summer Enolytics was invited to present our work, and lead a wine tasting, at the kick-off dinner the night before the Chief Data Officer (CDO) Executive Summit in Atlanta. (An Enolytics 101 post, back in June, described the experience.) Word of the program got around, and we’re now scheduled to present at another CDO Executive Summit, this time in San Francisco on December 10.

It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity. Talking about wine + data to CDOs in Atlanta is one thing; talking about it to CDOs in San Francisco is something else. This link gives you an idea of who will be in the room.

The San Francisco program is where you come in. Rather than Enolytics leading the wine tasting portion, we’d like to extend an invitation to wineries who are using data in interesting ways. During our part of the presentation, we’ll highlight the work of each winery that’s there, and then program attendees will move to a walk-around portion where wineries will pour your wines and speak to a graphic that illustrates how you’re currently using data in your business.

Your part? Bringing the wine and talking about how you use data.

Our part? Highlighting your work and welcoming you to the tasting.

The Summit attendees’ part? Expanding their perspective on what’s possible with data, in a category they don’t often consider.

Interested? I hope so. Please let us know here.

Sidebar: Is your business in another segment of bev alcohol, like spirits or beer? Please let us know that too, as it’s a growing area of interest. What we’re doing in wine is transferrable to what’s possible in spirits and beer.

Opportunity Two: Weighing in on POS and DTC

Wine Business Monthly dedicated much of their August 2019 issue to technology, including next-gen POS and DTC software and increased investment in ecommerce. To quote Cyril Penn’s Letter from the Editor at the front of the magazine:

"A little over a year ago, I attended a marketing conference where wine marketing and technology executives exchanges ideas. There were roughly 150 industry professionals in attendance, most of them were folks working in wine marketing or sales. During a discussion about e-commerce, a speaker asked for a show of hands to indicate how many people were 'happy' with their point-of-sale (POS) system. Nobody in the room raised their hand."

I read that and cringed, knowing how important this is to the wine industry. Why is it such a pain point? We’d like to understand it better, from your point of view. Even if you don’t want to collaborate actively, we’d appreciate hearing your feedback.

Interested? I hope so. Please let us know here.

I look forward as always to your thoughts and, this week in particular, to your input in response –

Thank you,


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.

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


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!


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


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.


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.

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


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.


You Are the Reason We're Here: A Look Back at 2018


As I’ve been thinking about this last Enolytics 101 post of 2018, on the status of our work in wine + data, something kept itching at the back of my neck.

For a long time I couldn’t figure out what it was. Something incongruous. Something that didn’t match up.

It had to do with big data, and what we’ve learned this year during the day to day operations of our business.

My attention kept lingering on the “big” of big data, and eventually I realized what was bugging me.

Big data is, actually, small.

I mean “small” partly in the sense of micro decisions. Those micro decisions are what we analyze when consumers choose to engage digitally about wine, and create the digital trail that we follow. Yes, they’re micro but micro multiplied by millions of wine drinkers all around the world, one at a time, still adds up to big.

I mean “small” too in the sense of choices that make up the momentum of big data, and this community. The choices you make to open these emails every week, for example; it takes just a minute or two to read but your consistency in opening the emails helps to steer the content.

It’s also the choice to start the conversation one on one when your interest is piqued, or to push our capabilities with a challenge we haven’t grappled with yet.

That’s what happened most of all.

We are grateful for that most of all. To grapple with data in a way that makes sense for our industry. And to channel data, to put it to work so that it makes your business better.

That’s what we’re after: to serve the wine industry with data-based insights.

2018 has been an amazing year for that. We’ve made progress. We’ve taken strides in the right direction, right alongside you.

Thank you for that. Truly. 

You are the reason we're here.

We wish you a peaceful and restful holiday season. See you again, right here, in 2019.



Requesting Your Help: Data Sources on Wine, Food and Tourism

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 5.11.06 PM.png

“How can data help us increase wine and food tourism?”

That’s the question I’ve been asked to address in a month’s time, during the keynote address at the Business of Wine and Food Tourism conference in Cape Town, South Africa.  

My first (admittedly selfish) reaction: Cape Town! Cape Town!


My second (significantly more rational) reaction: That’s actually three questions rolled into one.

  1. How can data about wine help?

  2. How can data about food help?

  3. How can data about tourism help?

What I especially love about the “three in one” factor is that it reflects the true definition of a big data company: to aggregate multiple sources of data across multiple platforms.

In other words, pulling together data about wine + food + tourism is what our team of analysts is specifically skilled at doing.

So yes, we’ve got sources about wine consumers that we can pull from, that they’re already used to dealing with. The data has to do with behavior, and location, and sentiment, and frequency.

And yes, thanks to new friends and local partners, we’ve got additional data about things like hotel/occupancy figures, air arrivals and social media reach.

Which is all good, and really exciting.

But we know there’s more, particularly when we think about the second part of the request for the keynote content: What can South Africa learn from California, particularly as it relates to the tourism industry recovering from a natural disaster?

In California, it was last year’s wildfires and the drought before that. In South Africa, it’s their drought also and reports of a water shortage that has crippled tourism efforts and reservations.

Plenty of similarities, and lots of lessons to be learned.

Here’s my question for you, and our request for your help:

What sources of data do you know, who could contribute to our analysis? Where, in California or elsewhere, can we turn for quantifiable “lessons learned” that are helpful and worth sharing?

We’re open to suggestions, and I’d love to feature the knowledge of these sources in my talk.

Here’s my cell phone number and email: +1.702.528.3717 and, and I’ll actually be in Sonoma this weekend, all the way until Tuesday, in case you’re local and would like to meet up in person to talk.

Thank you in advance for your help.

3 Reasons Why Big Data Matters To You


About 80%.

That’s how much of my time, I’d estimate, that’s spent talking with people about big data for the wine industry and, more importantly, why they should care.

Does that come as a surprise?

There’s a fair amount of ramping up to do when you’re introducing a new way of working with data, between the network of partners to aggregating sources to the value of a global footprint.

I get it, and I’m dedicated to sharing the value of data insights as often and as articulately as possible.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed a shift in these conversations. We seem to have reached a tipping point when it comes to understanding big data for wine in general, and also what it means specifically for the person or team we’re talking to.

More people are getting it, more often and more quickly than when we first started Enolytics, not even two years ago.

Here are three reasons why.

It’s Hyperlocal

The lightbulb goes on when we show the world map plotted with “hotspots” of wine consumer behavior, from New Zealand to Cape Town and from Madrid to Seattle. But then we show maps (like the one above) that are “zoomed in” to hotspots of interest in particular markets or neighborhoods or zip codes – specific areas, in other words, that are relevant to the work and the goals of the people we’re talking to.

That’s a moment when they see why they should care. It’s relevant to them personally.

The Big Data World is Getting Smaller

Not smaller in terms of the quantity of data, I mean, but smaller in terms of the degrees of separation between sources and team leaders. It’s a fundamental tenet of Enolytics to function as “the Switzerland of big data,” in that we’ll gladly work with any source who has valuable records to contribute. There’s also a cooperative nature that’s implied in that approach, in that we’ll gladly connect sources with clients, and with each other, when it helps to move projects forward. Which is often.

That, too, tightens the connections and makes working with big data – multiple sources of big data, no less – less daunting and less of a reach within the normal protocol of everyday business.

The Tipping Point of Questions

We seem to have reached a tipping point, too, when it comes to questions asked over the course of a conversation about data. There are more questions. They are more varied. They are more specifically relevant to the goals of the people we’re talking to.

It’s less, How can you help me understand wine consumers in the U.S.? It’s more, How can you help me understand wine consumer behavior in white tablecloth restaurants in Washington DC at the $50 and above category?

It’s less, Can you integrate with other platforms we already buy into? It’s more, Here’s access to the platform we already use. How can we get more out of it? And how can you overlay external data so that our data spend is optimized?

Do you see the difference?

The more that we create the space for conversation, the better the conversations we can have. The better the conversations, the more directly relevant the outcomes can be.

And the more big data can matter to you, in the best, most effective ways.

I look forward, as always, to your responses, comments and questions. And thank you for reading.

How to Work with Sales Data from Distributors: A Case Study from Paso Robles

Jason Haas head shot.jpg

This week we’re shifting gears away from consumer data and looking squarely at data that’s internal to the winery itself.

Inspiration for this post comes from Jason Haas (above), Partner and GM at Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, who wrote in December about not being able to evaluate what you don’t measure.

“I hate it when I feel that the data that we’re capturing doesn’t represent the critical decisions that customers make,” Haas wrote on the Tablas Creek blog. “Because that’s the important thing about data: It lets you know, beyond anything anecdotal, whether you’re doing a great job or not.”

To which we say, Word.

Haas uses data in many ways to measure the effectiveness of their sales channels, including:

  • Relative effectiveness of different sorts of visitor tasting experiences, such as standard tasting versus reserve tasting
  • Measurements of value and happiness of wine club members, such as median length of membership and average additional sales to members
  • The effectiveness of offers and promotions
  • Engagement, meaning the percentage of people who open, click on or respond to emails.
  • Haas also delves into publicly available databases for insights, as he did in this blog about ratings of unfashionable grapes and this blog about how people age Tablas Creek wines.

And then there is the sales data that Haas requests from distributors who represent his wines.

To an outsider, this seems like a direct enough request – to be informed about where and how much of your own wine is being sold. But responses and results that Haas receives from the distributors is mixed.

“Some distributors are great and can (and are willing to) give you data in the format and depth you want,” Haas said. “Others are constrained by systems that don’t export data usefully, or can’t be automated to do so, and so you have to ask for it each time you want it, which with 60+ distributors is a nightmare.”

Yet he persists, with the goal of answering the following questions:

  • What wines are selling?
  • Where are they selling them, and how broadly? Were those 30 cases sold to 15 restaurants, say, or to two retailers?
  • What wines are being sampled by their salespeople?
  • What is in inventory?
  • What is the current pricing and what incentives/deals are being offered?

Haas said that, generally speaking, the more important they are to a distributor, and the more nimble and independent the distributor, the better the data and responsiveness to the request.

Most of the time, there is nothing actionable in the data he receives on a weekly or monthly basis. But he does try to look more comprehensively mid-year and at end-of-year, at the states for which he gets good data.

"If I see something that worries me I reach out to our brand manager to make sure he or she is aware of what’s happening, and maybe as important, aware that I’m aware of what’s happening," Haas said. "It’s not a guarantee of things improving in the way you want, but it dramatically increases the chances."

Haas is able to be more detailed when it comes to sales reports within California, taking these three steps:

  1. He sorts the sales data by region to determine where their market work will be most valuable in the coming months.
  2. He sends Thank You notes to reps or managers who are doing a good job.
  3. He re-sorts the data by item to determine any trends. Is a wine selling faster (or slower) than it has been? If so, why? Did we lose one or two high velocity placements? Or is there something broader-based going on? Should he ask the distributor to distribute some samples of a particular wine to a team or a group of teams? Or should he call the brand manager to come up with a more creative incentive program to help improve focus?

"None of these things are magic bullets in sales," Haas said. "It’s a crowded marketplace and there are lots of other smart people out there competing for your business. But knowing what’s actually happening in your key markets and communicating what you’d like to see to your distributors – who, after all, have the same goal as you, to sell your wine – definitely improves your odds."

Is your team already taking these steps? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

If not, how can we help move you in the right direction?

I look forward as always to your thoughts, and thank you for reading.

How to Visualize Wine Consumer Data


Let me show you a picture.

What you see above is a snapshot taken from a project we did recently for a California winery, who wanted to know how their brand was performing within the eyes of consumers in major markets within the U.S.

(We love this kind of question. It's answerable, first and foremost, using quantitative data of hundreds of thousands of data records that consumers spontaneously and objectively generated themselves.)

We took that data, packaged it, and built an online interface for the winery that they, and our team of analysts, "sliced and diced" according to the questions that the winery wanted to know.

The pie chart, above, is a screenshot of an answer to one of their questions, which was how their brand was performing in major markets.

So we showed them their brand's top ten markets according to consumers.

We showed them the share of consumer interest that their brand owns in each of those markets. New York and San Francisco, sure, but Denver and Cleveland? Why not Boston or Atlanta? And why is Washington DC only #9?

We showed them how consumers were talking about their wine within the different markets (which helps to explain the top ten line up).

We showed them how their share of consumer interest in each market evolved over the past four years -- which markets grew, which markets dropped off the list, etc.

We showed them how, if they click on any of those slices of the pie, they could see heatmaps that indicate exactly where consumers were located in each market at the time that they generated the data record about this particular brand.

And then we showed them their competitors, that is, other wines within the same price category that were also competing for consumers' interest. Sometimes they had specific labels in mind and they wanted to see their own performance compared to those labels, and we looked at them too.

They said, "Cool."

We said, "Cool. What else would you like to know?"

And on it went.

Here's the bottom line: This is information that wineries can use in order to understand consumer interest. It's information that's responsive to unique, direct questions from the winery itself. It's information that is helpful for communicating more effectively to consumers, which means selling more wine.

Can we help you with that too?

Please let us know.

Thank you.

Why Wine Data Isn't More Widely Utilized (and What We're Doing about It)


Why isn’t wine data more widely accepted as a resource?

What are the obstacles that keep a business from utilizing quantitative, consumer-driven data?

And what, ultimately, would convince a business to buy in?

As a co-founder of Enolytics, these are the questions I wrestle with on a daily basis. Education, patience, and results-driven evidence and case studies have been the responses that have consistently and effectively tipped the scale in our favor so far. 

A few weeks ago, when I taught the subject of big data for wine to two groups of MBA students in Bordeaux, I asked them this question as well: in their opinion, what are the reasons why a business resists the use of wine consumer data? Nearly all of the students were European and most fell within the millennial demographic.

Their answers made me go, Hmm. I’d like to share them with you here.

  1. Trust. Or, more accurately, a lack of trust — of the data, that is, and of “outsiders” who are bringing this concept to them. Where does the data come from, they wanted to know, and how can they be sure it’s real and accurate?
  2. Priority. There’s a lot to do, every day and every season and every year, and most businesses that the students work for or plan to work for adhere to the routine and flow of that cycle. So working with consumer data becomes yet another thing that the business would need to find time to do.
  3. Relevance of the Data Over Time. Relatedly, the students questioned the “shelf life” of the data. With so much to do already, is the data still “good” if they don’t get to it for a few weeks or months down the road?
  4. Someone to Interpret the Results. What do we do with the information once we have it? Though this has yet to be a real-life problem for any client we’ve worked with, it caused some anxiety among the students.

Since the students, as the next generation of leaders in their companies, can also be advocates for the use of data, I listened hard to their concerns. Some of what has been working for us so far — education, patience, and results-driven evidence and case studies — is relevant and helpful here too, though working within Europe certainly poses its own unique challenges.

We’re confident in our ability to respond to three of these four challenges — trust, relevance of the data over time, and interpreting the results. In the coming months we’ll also be introducing new partnerships and initiatives that we hope, and expect, will help. Please stay tuned.

The remaining challenge, prioritizing a data project, is less up to us, naturally, and more up to the potential client to decide if and when they are ready to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Are you ready?

Because we are, whenever you say Go.

Thank you for reading and, as always, let me know your questions and ideas and concerns.

Happy December in the meantime!

3 New Directions for Wine Consumer Data


Maybe it's because we're now in Q4, and people are looking ahead to the New Year.

Maybe -- I hope -- it's because we're establishing enough of a foundation of work that businesses are confident about building on top of these examples and naturally extending the concept to newly-defined areas of interest.

Whatever the reason, we've seen an uptick lately in data queries headed in new directions.

Here are three that we're looking forward to digging into, the rest of this year and beyond.

  1. Outside the US. Most of our work to date has been focused on consumers within the US market. Since several of our data partners have a global footprint, however, we can just as well run queries for markets in Europe, say, as we do in America.
  2. Individual Varietals. Drilling down into categories of wine has been routine so far. High-priced red wines, for example, or else sparkling wine or target markets. Lately though we're hearing more interest in queries according to specific varietals, both red and white, with an eye toward gauging consumer sentiment and identifying hotspots of interest according to style and price point.
  3. Packaging. How have consumers been behaving around less traditional packaging, like boxes and cans? Is the data on this topic statistically significant? Would we base any decisions on it ourselves? If so, what can we learn?

Anything here ring a bell for you? Please let me know if it does, or if you've got an idea we haven't mentioned yet. I'm always curious, and happily surprised by new possibilities.

As always, thank you for reading.

Spoiler Alert: The Best Part Comes First in the Freixenet USA Case Study

Freixenet Mockup for article.png

Spoiler alert: I’m going to tell you the last part (the best part) first.

This week I wrote up a case study for The Buyer of one of Enolytics’ earliest supporters and clients, Freixenet USA. You can read the full article here. Or we can cut to the chase and I’ll tell you what (if I know this audience) you most likely want to know.

What was in it for them.

What, in other words, were the key takeaways for the brand? How does our research help Freixenet sell more wine, and improve their positioning in the market?

Here is what Freixenet identified as four key insights from our work with them.

  1. A better understanding of the consumer demographic where Freixenet brands over index, within a 10-year age bracket and $10k income bracket. This was broken down by Freixenet labels, i.e., Gloria Ferrer vs Segura Viudas vs Freixenet.
  2. The specific markets where Freixenet brands own greater and lesser shares of consumer interest. That is, where those brands are doing well and where there’s room for improvement, relative to consumer behaviour and interest. Also the geographical biases toward one category of sparkling wine over another.
  3. The key words that consumers consistently use to describe each brand, which also leads to insights about the occasions when the brands are “in use” by consumers, such as special occasions and weekend brunch.
  4. Gauging the potential of whether or not to raise the prices of their wines, particularly in relation to other Spanish Cava wines.

The full article explains in detail the opportunity, methodology, conclusions, and a little about what we at Enolytics have been learning since we launched 18 months ago. I hope you’ll click over and have a look.

In the meantime, please let me know if any of these takeaways ring a bell for you. Do you have your mind or your team focused on something similar? An extension of what we’ve been doing? Or something entirely different?

I’d love to hear about it.

Email: Phone: +1.702.528.3717

I appreciate your taking the time to read these posts.

-- Cathy Huyghe, Co-founder of Enolytics

PS I’ve been honored to see Enolytics showing up in the media internationally these past few weeks. Please have a look at this interview from Rome and a listen to this podcast from the U.K

Test Your Knowledge of the Wine Market


Today, a quick case study, a multiple-choice question, and one test of your knowledge of the wine market.

For one of our projects this summer, we studied U.S. consumer behavior around red wines priced between $80 and $120. Vivino was our primary data partner for this project, and we focused on actual bottle scans by consumers who held the bottle in their hand and scanned the label using the Vivino app.

We looked at things like the most popular wines in that category over the past five years; where consumers were geographically located at the time of the scans; and the other wines they scanned during the very same session, i.e., the competitive set.

It was fascinating. The bottom line? The client has more quantitative information to work from, from the consumer's perspective, and no longer needs to rely on gut feel alone.

Which brings me to the multiple-choice question.

When we looked at the top 1% of the most popular wines in this category, we noticed (not unexpectedly) that those wines account for a disproportionate number of total scan share. How big, do you think, was the scan share for the top 1% of wines?

Take a guess.

a.     7% of all scans

b.     13% of all scans

c.     27% of all scans

d.     43% of all scans

e.     62% of all scans

Here’s a hint: It’s more than you think.

Got your answer?

The correct choice is D, or 43%. That is, the top 1% of most popular red wine scans in the US, priced from $80 to $120 over the last five years, account for 43% of total label scans.

Disproportionate, yes. But true.

Does that surprise you?

If it does, and your wine hits that price point, then you’ve got some thinking to do. Do you really know your positioning? And do you know it within the eyes of consumers?

If you aren’t surprised, good for you. The question for you is, where does your wine fall within that percentile? Are you within that top 1% and benefiting from the lion’s share of consumer interest?

You should be.

Not only can we know where your wine falls within that percentile, we can also provide insights that can help you nudge further up the scale.

The data is there to tell you. We’re here to connect the dots.

Please let me know if you’d like more information. Reach me by cell phone (+1.702.528.3717) or email ( any time.

Also note: We’re taking next week off for the Labor Day holiday. Enjoy your long weekend, and we’ll see you back here in two weeks.

As always, thank you for reading -- 

Big Ideas, Big Data, and What Gives Me the Jitters

If there’s anything that energizes a startup, it’s spending time with people who GET what you’re trying to do.

Even if they don’t understand all the details, it’s energizing that they understand how you’re trying to do something different, that it takes time, that there are gallons of elbow grease involved, and that now and again it’s nice to hear encouragement and reinforcement.

It’s even nicer when those same people challenge you to go further.

That’s been the situation these past two weeks, as I’ve traveled to the coast of Portugal for the provocative and invigorating MUST: Fermenting Ideas conference last week, and now on to southern France for the Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines gathering, which starts today.

I don’t know what to expect exactly, and I certainly don’t know what the outcome will be, either short-term or long-term.

Here’s what I do know: Count me in.

Count me in for being challenged and energized, and for being in the room with the people who convene these conversations, and with the people who keep them going.

I’d love for you to be part of that conversation too.

So in last week’s post I shared the start of the presentation I offered at MUST, on how wineries can use the tools and platforms that are fueled by big data in order to sell more wine online. The first 6 suggestions channeled 3 of our data partners with the largest footprints, and the 4 suggestions I’m sharing today round out a “to do” list that, I sincerely hope, generates some useful brainstorming and applications.

Here goes, with tips 7 through 10 on how data can help to sell more wine online.

7. The Rest of the Internet. The tip for wineries: get to know Google Trends, and use it thoroughly and creatively.

A little context: the mission of Enolytics from the very start has been to tap into wine-focused platforms in order to build a more comprehensive picture of consumer behavior and sentiment than has ever been seen before. This is our WHY. If there is an “Enolytics 2.0,” it is to also tap into wine consumer behavior expressed everywhere else, that is, by the people who organically search for wine information on engines like Google.

Moonshot? Heck yeah. Possible? Absolutely, especially with what we already know about machine learning, and the relationships we’re building with incredibly smart people who do exactly that.

8. Wild Cards, by which I mean “Let’s think creatively about the platforms that are tailored to meet my winery’s specific goals.”

Want to increase your presence on social media? Look into #Winestudio, run by sommelier Tina Morey, whose month-long programs generate 13.2 million timeline deliveries and 2200 tweets via a network of 200 contributors.

Want to benefit from the increased traffic generated by wine tourism? Platforms like Winery Passport in the U.S. and Canada, and Visit Vineyards in Australia were literally built to do just that. They already have the data that will be useful to you.

And etc. And etc. And etc!

9. Visualize a Winery’s Own Data. Let’s say a winery gives us access to several years’ worth of their anonymized DTC data. We can build an interactive dashboard for them that is customized according to the priorities that the winery sets out, such as visualizing their performance year over year, month over month, and according to sales channel, such as Amazon versus their wine club. The dashboard is interactive and reflexive, and immediately adjusts to updates and field selections.

10. Vigilance. Yes, it can be useful for a winery to implement these steps. But that usefulness is delimited by how often and how vigilantly it executes. It’s great to do it, but it’s imperative to do it regularly and carefully.

How can we be helpful to you? How can you also join this conversation? Can we brainstorm a strategy? Maybe put you in touch with partners who can provide detailed information?

We’re glad to do any of those things, and to hear what you have to say about things we haven’t even thought of yet.

As always, thank you for reading –