data analytics

The Missing Link of Wine + Data? It Isn’t What You Think.

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When I talk with people about wine + data, there’s a little bit of a hierarchy of interest.

At the bottom end of the hierarchy is data. Let’s face it! Maybe it has to do with limited familiarity overall with the subject, or maybe it’s because the number of people in wine who want to “geek out” over data is still relatively small.

In the middle of the hierarchy of interest is wine. Lots of shared common ground here, obviously.

At the top of the hierarchy of interest, though? The people themselves. But there’s an irony to it: It’s people who make the decisions about wine + data, yet the focus of the conversation tends most often to not be on them.

Here are three ways we can do a better job of putting people at the top of the wine + data hierarchy.

Recognize that people generate the data.
That comes from digital interactions, everything from ecommerce purchases to text and image-rich posts on social media.

Recognize the people who build the technology.
That means the nuts and bolts, and developing the infrastructure channels through which the data flows. This eventually leads to actionable takeaways.

Understand that people make decisions about technology in a very analog way.

Let me hover here for a moment, on this key word of analog and how it plays out for wine + data.

It’s an analog decision to learn about data’s potential, even though that maybe isn’t your background or even part of your original job description.

People — you — make the analog decision to open this email or read this post, even though you have 15,279 other things to do today.

Raw data files are not analog, but it’s an analog decision to share them in an effort to explore what’s possible using technology and analysis.

Face-to-face meetings are very analog, but we find that they’re the most effective way to shift the conversation (and the adoption rate) of wine + data.

How about you? Ready for an analog conversation to fill in the missing link? Please let me know. I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always, for reading —

Cathy

3 Ways to Benchmark Your Wine Business for Its Best Possible Performance

Image Credit: MarkBroadbent.org

Image Credit: MarkBroadbent.org

Benchmarking.

It’s a cool buzzword when it comes to businesses of all types. In general, businesses use benchmarking as a way to discover the best performance that’s being achieved.

This week I’d like to focus for a moment on how we’re seeing it used in the wine industry in particular. Naturally, we’re curious about the ways that data can be harnessed in order to measure the best possible performance for wine businesses.

Let’s say your business is a winery. Think about benchmarking your winery in three concentric circles.

Innermost Core: Benchmarking Against Yourself

Here’s where you get your feet wet, both with data and with benchmarking. You want to gather enough data from current and previous years in order to provide the context for what you want to measure. This also establishes the baseline against which you’re measuring for the future. We see this most often in an operational or financial context.

Second Circle Outward: Benchmarking Against Your Peers

The idea here is to gather the same sets of data from a group of peers, or “frame of reference” wineries. That data is de-identified, so that no one’s proprietary information is exposed and no winery suffers a competitive disadvantage.

“Frame of reference” wineries for you may be other cabernet sauvignon producers, say, or it may be other wineries that are also members of your regional trade association. Rather than any one winery trying to go it alone as you determine decisions that range from pricing to the viticultural impact of climate change, benchmarking against your peers in an anonymized way reduces individual risk while also providing measurable standards in relation to your direct peers.

Outermost Circle: Benchmarking in a Global Perspective

By “global” here, we mean zooming out to something more general, like other wines within your price point, say, or other white wines or other wines from your entire state or even your country.

You can see how useful it would be to have the ten thousand foot view of Bordeaux-style blends, for example, in the top ten markets in the past five to seven years; even more useful could be that ten thousand foot view segmented according to the performance of Bordeaux-style blends from California compared to similar wines from France or Chile.

Does that make sense?

Our experience tells us that most wineries have what you need right now for the core concentric circle, to benchmark against yourself and start measuring performance for success.

If that’s something you’re already doing, then first, good for you. And second, consider stepping on to the second circle, or beyond. Managing your business performance with data-backed strategy has a significantly greater chance of success. We’re here to help that happen.

Thank you for reading and I look forward, as always, to your thoughts –

Cathy

The Biggest Surprise So Far, About Wine + Data? Walk Before You Run

Photo Credit: EverydayDevotions.com

Photo Credit: EverydayDevotions.com

During our Enolytics retreat a few weeks ago, I asked our co-founder (whose professional experience is not in the wine industry) what the biggest surprise for him has been, since we launched a little more than three years ago.

“At first, the splash we made was about building an ecosystem of data partners who could help fill in the ‘blindspot’ of consumer sentiment around wine,” he said. “That’s still really important, and getting more so every day.”

And since then?

“Since then, what’s surprised me the most,” he said, “was how many wineries have said, ‘Look, we already HAVE data. We already own it, and we’re pretty sure we aren’t using it as best we can. It maybe isn’t as sexy or as splashy, but why don’t we work with that, before we bring in outside data?’”

In other words, let’s walk before we run.

Makes sense to us.

So, what kind of data do most wineries already have?

It depends on the size and nature of the business, but most often it involves DTC sales, tasting room visits, Nielsen data, CRM data, social media analytics, financial history, purchase history, or some combination of any of those.

(Can you relate to this?)

It adds up to quite a lot, actually, with the potential of something very powerful and strategic.

The catch, as maybe you can also relate to, is how few wineries dedicate staff and resources to working with the data that a wine business already has, that they generate organically every month or every quarter or etc of the year.

That’s where we can help. That’s where we’ve been helping, as much as this segment of the industry has been a surprise development for us. We’ve caught on pretty quickly.

Where are you in the process? Do you have a handle on how much data you have? Do you analyze it, and put it to work for your business? Is it helping to increase sales and improve your bottom line? Do you have a hunch it can be better?

Let’s talk about it, and see if there’s a way we can help. Please be in touch with any questions or ideas.

PS We’ll be taking next week off, enjoying the last official weekend of the summer. I hope you do too!

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

Enolytics Capabilities Deck: Revised Version, Available Now

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Improvisation.

That’s been on my mind this week for two reasons, namely updating the Enolytics capabilities deck, and as an article topic for my column over on Inc.com.

Here’s what both projects have in common: the end result was unknown at the start. That’s where improvisation comes in.

It isn’t that we didn’t know where we wanted to go. It’s more that we needed constructive input from you in the industry, plus creative collaboration, to get us there.

Because let me tell you, in the case of our capabilities deck, it is not today what it was two years ago. Not even close.

It’s better, meaning more reflective of what our industry needs and is willing to bear.

Interested in seeing it? Please let me know. I’d love to share, and talk about the ways we can make a difference for your business.

Thank you, as always, for your continued interest and encouragement.

Cathy

Data for the Three Tier System: A Case Study of Challenges and Solutions

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Enolytics 101 is a weekly check-in on the people and news of the wine + data space, steered largely by questions and challenges that come our way from clients, potential clients and other players in the space.

The idea is to move the conversation forward through hands-on examples, and through straightforward Q&As with colleagues who are gaining traction week by week. That’s meant features like the recent merger of Wine Folly with the Global Wine Database, the overall implications of blending data with content, and increasing the profitability of DTC programs.

This week we’re adding a fresh perspective, this time on data for the three tier system, through the lens of Tampa-based Proof Network Ventures. Proof first came on our radar earlier this year when they acquired Drync, a private-label mobile app that delivered an ecommerce solution for beverage alcohol retailers.

Since then we’ve been learning more about Proof’s mission and strategy, as well as their vision for using technology to drive meaningful benefits and change for our industry. Here are three fundamental questions about their work, and Proof’s responses. Notice in particular the last question, on specific, real-world ways that data can be put to use on behalf of individual wineries and brands.

I’d be curious for your thoughts on these questions, and which questions you would ask the Proof team. Please let us know.

***

Why is connecting different industry tiers such an important and powerful part of what you do?

Better business starts with meaningful relationships. The opaque nature of this highly regulated industry leaves far too many gaps in communication and collaboration between retailers, suppliers, and wholesalers, not to mention extreme fragmentation of data. Our business solutions connect these tiers for efficient and mutually beneficial business ventures by uniting everyone around the same goal: selling to the right customer.

What are the inherent challenges, and how are you overcoming them?

When you dedicate your business to modernizing an industry, the mission is naturally challenging. We were lucky to learn early on that rather than building a single use or value-added product to address a single issue in the beverage alcohol industry, a new paradigm was needed.

While an intuitive and feature-rich mobile ecommerce platform adds value on its own, we also feel it leaves a lot on the table for both sides. Value-add custom solutions are desirable to retailers in a vacuum, boosting digital sales requires more than just a platform. That’s why we offer quantitative marketing services, audience segmentation, as well as advertising campaign management for our retail partners on top of our tech suite. It isn’t enough to onboard people onto a platform; we’re dedicated to helping them succeed long term.

Could you describe three specific ways that you can help individual wineries or brands through the data you work with?

Depending on the hypothesis, there are a multitude of ways that consumer purchase data can help wineries and brands succeed. Here are a few of our favorites that we're currently working on with some of our brand partners:

  1. Identify shifting trends in existing and emerging markets

  2. Effectively manage inventory to guarantee yield optimization

  3. Develop robust consumer profiles and model behavior from historical data

The most important thing for us is ensuring raw data can be transformed and ultimately used in meaningful ways to empower brands to make smarter and more profitable business decisions. At the end of the day, our custom audience development and consumer profiling data science initiatives are changing the way brands look at their end consumers.

***

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

Holy Bloody Moly: A Piece of Good News Out of London

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We heard some incredibly exciting news this week. The shortlist was announced from London for the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards, and I found myself as a finalist for the Mazzei International Wine Columnist of the Year.

As I wrote in my posts on social media, holy bloody moly.

It’s an honor. Full stop.

It’s also an opportunity to become familiar with the work of other writers who have been shortlisted, some of which I hadn’t previously known.

Most of all, it’s given us at Enolytics a chance to take a step back and seek perspective. In terms of the current state of content we care about it, that is, and the future of it as well.

That will be on our minds this coming week as our team begins our annual retreat: to seek perspective on the evolution of wine + data, and the future of it as well, for Enolytics and in general.

I’m looking forward to the pause away from our regular routines, to the brainstorming, and especially to strategizing about how to do better in the months and years to come.

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

The Content-Data-Content Sandwich, and Why It Matters for Wine

Source: BBC Good Food

Source: BBC Good Food

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there have been some really exciting moves within the industry lately when it comes to data.

Interestingly, each move in data has also involved a move in content.

I’ve written about the merger a few months ago of the Global Wine Database with Wine Folly, to create Folly Enterprises; Wine Folly’s most recent accolade came from the James Beard Foundation, which named Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack’s Wine Folly: Magnum Edition the best Beverage book of 2019. And this week, we learned about the strategic alliance between Beverage Media Group and SevenFifty Technologies, the parent of SevenFifty Daily which was named this past week as the Best Cocktail and Spirits publication by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

Could you have data without having content?

Of course you can. But that’s when data mostly performs in a vacuum, when it’s able to be understood by only so many people. It’s the context, which the content provides, that gives the data “legs,” so to speak, that propels someone to get up out of their chair and run down the hall to their manager’s office to try to convince them to make a change to how they do business.

In the day-to-day operations of Enolytics, it looks like this:

Content – Data – Content

First we understand the need, which means the content around the client’s pain point when it comes to data.

Then we work with the raw data, from various sources, in order to address that need and offer potential solutions.

Finally, we circle back to content, which means interpreting the solutions so that the data-based results actually mean something to the client in actionable ways.

The data is the meat of this sandwich, no doubt about it. But it’s also the content on either side of it that makes it palatable. We see it every day at the office, and we see it happening around us too, at various levels throughout the industry.

Please let us know if you’d like to join the flow, and how we can help.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

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

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

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

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.

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 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

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

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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

Data + Wine + Love: The Entrepreneurial Team at the Heart of Enolytics

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By the time you read this, Valentine’s Day will be over and we’ll all be moving onto the next thing.

But first I wanted to pause that momentum for a minute, and pull back the curtain a little bit on the people of Enolytics who comprise our data leadership team. As I thought this week about why I love them, and why I love what they bring to Enolytics, it seemed to say something significant about the innovation and effectiveness of an entrepreneurial team in the wine world.

The “surface” way to read the descriptions below is as a pretty simple love fest around this team’s qualities. Which, okay, it is. But look just a little closer, and you’ll also see the impact of these qualities that enable Enolytics to do the projects we do and to gain the traction we have.

I am grateful for that, and especially for them. Here’s why.

CHRIS is the co-founder of Enolytics and my mentor in business, especially as it relates to operations, financial decisions, and contracts. There would be no infrastructure without him, nor would we be fiscally viable without his direction. He is a very tough negotiator, which I have come to recognize is driven by a desire to value and protect the output of this team. The fierceness of his loyalty manifests in our business decisions, and it buoys this ship.

CLAUDIA, through her quiet and determined leadership, has just been formally recognized as a luminary in the field of data science and visualization. It’s something that I personally want to shout from the rooftops on her behalf, since she would never do so herself. She plans to use that recognition to support the development of other women in technology. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky ideal; she has a plan and, believe me, when Claudia has a plan, things happen and they happen smartly. She relentlessly seeks to improve and to learn and to keep doing better, which repeatedly lights the fire of inspiration for me.

It’s completely inappropriate, no doubt, to say that I have a crush on RON. But I have a crush on Ron. What can I say? I have always liked smart people and Ron is so smart that even Google has been compelled to take over his screen and challenge his abilities. (Did you know that that actually happens? I didn’t. Until it happened to Ron.) His brain is vast. I have not once seen Ron unable to find a solution to a technical problem that comes his way. But he doesn’t only find a solution, it’s the right solution and it is solid.

These are the people who comprise the data leadership team at the heart of Enolytics. If I’m the public face of the business, they are its muscle and bone and blood.

I wanted to take the occasion of Valentine’s Day to recognize them here, and to give you a look “under the hood” of what it’s taken us to build this enterprise of Enolytics.

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

Depletion Data Case Study: Insights from Within the Winery Itself

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Let me start with the two questions that we’ve been working on for wineries this week:

  1. How can I use the data I already have?

  2. What can I learn from my depletion data specifically?

Now let’s look at the “sub questions,” or the subtext, that are driving those two main questions:

  1. How can I maximize my own resources, so I don’t have to spend a ton of money to figure out the data thing?

  2. My reality is that I need to make the same presentation to distributors over and over, just in different markets. Can I template that presentation, but change out the variables when I need to?

Fair enough, right? And maybe they even sound familiar, or are topics you could relate to, yourself.

So let’s take them one at a time.

Using the Data You Already Have

A winery already has data, probably quite a lot of it in fact, including depletions, ecommerce sales, viticultural analysis, location inventory and FOB changes.

The benefit of all this data? You already own it, so you don’t have to go out and pay someone else to provide it. If you could export it to an Excel or csv file, then we can start to work with it.

That’s the foundation.

The next step is using your data, which is where we come in as we start to work with the spreadsheets. Our team cleans the data, packages it, and then visualizes it in a dynamic and interactive dashboard.

Using Depletion Data Specifically

Let’s take one example – depletion data – and how this actually looks. The image above is a screenshot from a dashboard that we’re developing.

Here are four things to notice:

  1. This is just one screen, and one visualization, taken from one set of data. There are practically innumerable iterations of what you can visualize.

  2. Notice the various fields, like those running down the left-hand side of the image. These are dynamic, which means that if you click on any of the fields, the visualization to the right changes to reflect your selection. Filter by distributor, for example, and the visualization of performance adjusts to the distributor you’ve selected. Filter by state, as this example is, and the visualization adjusts to California, say, or Georgia (shown here).

  3. Notice the colors, which indicate in this case different wines, which makes it easy to see variations in volume. Green for cabernet sauvignon, for example, blue for chardonnay, and so on.

  4. The trend line, which is the bottom chart, shows rolling twelve-month analysis. This removes seasonality from the equation, which gives you a more comprehensive view of your performance over time, as opposed to being overly influenced by performance during, say, Q4.

You can start to see, I think, how you can build a template for the presentations you need to make again and again, as I mentioned at the top. The key is being able to select the fields according to what you need to know, and in which market.

It’s up to you. It happens dynamically. And you can drive the dashboard to where you need it to go.

Does that make sense?

Please let me know. We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for how this could be useful to you.

Thank you for reading, as always –

Cathy

How Any of Us Can Start the Wine + Data Analysis Journey, for Free

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Last week Cathy wrote about the Qlik Continuing Classroom, and how she’s introducing it for the first time to MBA students she’s teaching in Bordeaux. For one year, at no cost to them, students can access the Qlik platform and its educational resources, and even become a certified practitioner of the technology.

This week I wanted to step in and talk to a different audience – to the people in our community who aren’t currently students – about the same message: How to access free tools that jumpstart the data journey.

Because we believe in empowering wine businesses of all sizes to do something with their data.

We believe that the more people we can educate about the power of data-driven visualizations for business intelligence, the more it will elevate the industry as a whole.

We believe that data is for everybody, whether you’re a student and just starting out, or you’re wanting to add a new and valuable skill, or you’re an experienced professional looking for a new challenge that will add value and interest to your work.

As the co-founder and COO of Enolytics, I’m going to do something I probably shouldn’t be doing, and that’s to tell you that “doing something with your data” doesn’t necessarily mean hiring Enolytics.

Many of you are already perfectly capable of mining and visualizing your own data. You just need some help getting started.

Which brings me to why I’m writing Enolytics 101 this week.

I want you to know that there are a lot of resources that take the mystery out of data.

Most of you use Excel for handling your data but, in our opinion, Excel lacks the ability to dynamically visualize your data in the most useful and effective ways. Yes, you can make charts! But they are static. When you have additional questions, you need to create another table and another chart. That’s possible, but very time consuming.

So how do you get started? Without spending any money, the way the students have the opportunity to do? How do you start viewing your data in a way that enables you to make meaningful business decisions?

Many Business Intelligence vendors (like Qlik, Tableau, Microsoft PowerBI, etc.) offer free desktop versions of their products. It gives you a good start as you can basically do all functions on your own computer.

Check out:

  • Qlik. This is a desktop version of Qlik Sense (for Windows Users) that is free for personal and internal business use. It is also our recommendation. If you have a Mac, we suggest you install Parallels or VMWare so you can run it in a Windows environment. You can also use the Cloud version, QlikSense Cloud for free. Cloud has somewhat more limited functionality (probably still more than what you would normally need) but it will allow you to share with up to five users, and it can also run on moblie devices. You are, however, limited in the size of data files you upload. Remember to use Youtube as a resource to learn all about how to use it. There are plenty of tutorials.

  • Tableau. You’re limited by the amount of rows, and you can only connect Excel or text files. Also, and this is important, anything you save in Tableau Public will be saved on the Tableau Public Sever, which anyone can download. So there is no confidentiality there. Tableau is a great visualization platform but we wouldn’t recommend the free version for the reasons just mentioned.

  • Power BI. This is definitely an up-and-coming platform with beautiful visualization options. There’s also plenty of information about it available on YouTube and throughout the internet to get you going. It’s also fairly easy to use and has a free version (like Qlik Sense).

If you have a bit of computer savvy and you’d like to give data management and visualization a shot, these should be a good start for you.

If there’s enough interest, Enolytics would be happy to host a User Group where everyone can help each other out, ask questions and suggest ideas.

At a certain point father into the journey, yes, it will probably make sense to bring in data scientists with more experience and deeper expertise. And we hope at that point you’ll consider hiring Enolytics, whether you want to incorporate external data or build something with more moving parts. Until then, there’s a whole lot of ground you can cover on your own.

Tell us what you think. We’re listening, and encouraging the journey.

We never wanted Enolytics to be just another for-profit company in the wine industry. We know the power of data, and how it can be put to use for good. If “for good” in this case means empowering the wine community to work smarter and more efficiently, we want to help.

Thank you,

Chris

Empowering the Next Generation of Wine + Data Leaders: Announcing a Very Special Gift

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Say “data” to most people in the wine industry, and they think about numbers and spreadsheets.

When I say “data” in the context of Enolytics, I think about images and visualizations.

The gap between those two assumptions is key, we believe, to making sense – and making productive use – of the vast amounts of information that’s available to us today.

Imagine transforming numbers to images, and spreadsheets to visualizations. Imagine seeing patterns and trends that are otherwise invisible. Imagine being able to read the stories about your wine business that numbers hide.

This isn’t some pipe dream. Let me share an example of why not.

Next week I’ll be returning to INSEEC Business School in Bordeaux to teach a course to MBA students that encompasses three topics: entrepreneurship, narrative and data for wine.

One of the most critical building blocks for the data module of the course needs, IMO, to empower the students to do exactly what I’m discussing here: to see patterns and trends that will help whatever wine business they join after graduation.

It’s critical, I think, to show them that this isn’t a pipe dream.

It’s critical to put that tool into their hands, along with the confidence to use it.

How do I expect to do that?

By sharing one of the very same tools that Enolytics’ data team uses, that I demonstrated in a case study last week. It’s called Qlik and, for the first time in my teaching schedule, I’ll be offering access to students through the Qlik Academic Program, at no charge to them.

How do students benefit from this? They will have:

  • Access to the software

  • Access to the Continuous Classroom online learning platform, including a Data Analytics curriculum

  • The opportunity to earn a Qlik Sense Qualification

  • Access to a community forum and customer support

They’ll have the luxury of a full year of access, which is plenty of time to get the lay of the land of a powerful data visualization platform.

They’ll see that transforming numbers to images isn’t some pipe dream.

They’ll start learning to read the stories of wine business that are contained within industry data.

Who knows what else they’ll do with this tool in their toolkit?

I have no idea. But I’m stoked to find out.

So what’s the bottom line here?

That the wine industry will benefit from more people working in wine who GET the power of data. We’ll benefit from more people who are empowered to bridge the gap between “data as spreadsheets” and “data as visualizations.”

Working with data doesn’t have to be a mystery. It doesn’t have to be an exclusive club that only some people and some companies can access.

The more people in the boat, the better. Which is why I’ll be bringing the same access to universities wherever I teach, anywhere in the world. Bologna, Cambridge (both in Massachusetts and England), Adelaide, Cape Town, Sonoma…? I’m looking at you, for starters.

I look forward, sincerely, to that. And to sharing with you next week how the first steps in this direction are taking shape.

Any questions or comments? Let me know, as always.

Thank you, also as always, for reading.