data science

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter from the COO: How Data Can Help You Reach Your Company Goals in 2019

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Note: This week, as we flip the calendar page to 2019, I’ve asked Enolytics’ Chief Operating Officer to write about best practices for using data to achieve your yearly goals. True to form, being a COO and all, his thoughts went right to strategic planning for the fiscal year. Here are his thoughts, which are most relevant to colleagues whose roles are also operational in nature. But if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ll be able to pull out what matters for you.

If your business’ fiscal year matches your calendar year, it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about strategic planning to meet your goals. Whether they’re financial goals (sales), operational goals (production and delivery) or human resources related goals (hiring or education), an action plan at this point is your best friend for the bottom line.

An action plan involves tracking your performance objectively. Here are a few questions to ask yourself, to start.

  • What are my Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

  • How do I create a scorecard?

  • How often should I look at it? Every quarter? Every month? In real time?

  • What are my comparison KPIs? Month to budget? Month to Previous Year Month? Rolling 12 month?

Let’s say that the number of cases you’re shipping is off somehow. It’s a good indicator, but how do you pinpoint the reason why that particular KPI is off? It could take you weeks to find the culprit, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of accounts you’re tracking. But you should be able to figure this out real time. When you identify underperforming accounts in real time, then you can create corrective action to turn them around quickly and effectively.

To be able to do that, a few things need to happen. We can help with each of these points.

  • Make the data clean and dependable.

  • Visualize your data.

  • Understand what it’s telling you.

  • Deliver the intelligence you need, when you need it.

Objective data will tell you if you’re reaching your company goals or not. If you aren’t reaching your goals, the data will tell you which areas require more focus.

A new year is a great opportunity to change things up a bit. If you haven’t been tracking your performance, I encourage you to start now. It’s the backbone of many successful enterprises.

All of us at Enolytics wish you a healthy and successful 2019!

Thank you,

Chris

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

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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.

Sincerely,

Cathy

Enolytics in the Global Press, with Our Gratitude

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The most exciting thing so far about launching Enolytics has been watching people take the idea of “data + wine” and run with it, in a way that makes sense to them.

So far, when I’ve spoken about “the people” taking the idea and running with it, I've been referring to other wine people. Winery owners and CEOs, for example, and brand managers and marketing professionals.

This week, however, I’d like to share another perspective of “the people” who have interpreted “data + wine” for Enolytics, and that’s been members of the press.

Just as the concept of Enolytics means different things to different wine people around the world (as I wrote in Enolytics 101 last time), it also means different things to different journalists around the world.

What do they all have in common?

The interpretations are varied and dynamic and inventive, and they’re driving an incredibly exciting wave of momentum. The “hooks” that the different writers have found meaningful point directly to possibilities on the horizon.

Here are three different examples of that from the past month. One of the examples is based in Germany, and takes a global perspective. One is based in Cape Town, and is focused on South Africa. Add one is local to Enolytics’ home base in Atlanta, by a platform that covers startups and the VC community in the southeastern US.

***

Outlet: Meininger’s Wine Business International

Location: Germany

Hook: Big Data on the Rise, and for Enolytics specifically:

  • Growth and evolution of the business idea

  • Ecosystem of data partners, combined with a wine business’ own data

  • Application by client: Competitive edge of knowing consumer behavior and sentiment, beyond trade information

  • Application by client: Data insights pressures global partners to be more on top of the client’s own business

***

Outlet: Global Africa Network

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Hook: Consumer data analysis to grow wine and food tourism, especially:

  • Meeting consumers where they are

  • Qualitative and quantitative data analyses are complementary to each other

  • Benefits of aggregating multiple sources

  • Consumer experience is about emotion, not function

***

Outlet: Hypepotamus

Location: Atlanta

Hook: Wine + tech in the startup scene, namely:

  • Identifying the market opportunity for Enolytics

  • Expansion of the concept to Enolytics Spain

  • Steady growth of a scalable product that the industry will bear

  • The rationale for turning down offers of investment

This quote from the last example captures it, I think:

“We’re just so excited about how once we put it out there, people all around the world — from South Africa to Chile to Asia to New Zealand to Italy and France — have taken the idea and said, this is how it would be useful to us.”

We are grateful for this media attention, naturally, and we are grateful that there are so many aspects of the business that are of interest. We look forward to more conversations, and more developments, in the nearest future.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

Cathy

The Ace Up Our Sleeve, and How We Put It into Play

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The ace up Enolytics’ sleeve is, without a doubt, our team of data scientists.

What makes them so special?

Two things.

First is their professional history of working with data, which amounts to 50+ years of experience.

Second is that this experience happened far from the wine world, in healthcare, in fact, which is significantly farther along the data journey than the wine industry has been so far. It’s a difference of tools and skillset, and mining the data for business intelligence.

Data is data, and analytics are analytics. But how, exactly, does experience in healthcare transfer over to the wine industry?

That was a question we heard this past week, and I thought it would be useful to share the answer, straight from our data team.

Let’s say I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the doctors choose one of five treatment options.

That has an okay chance of working.

But let’s say we use factors like my genetic makeup and medical history. That will allow the medical team to assign me to a cohort of similar patients who had treatments in the past and therefore can predict which treatments have a higher change of success.

In other words, it allows analysts to personalize the treatment much more narrowly, to my individual situation.

Does that make sense?

It’s no longer a one size fits all solution, and my chances of recovery increase significantly.

So what are the parallels to wine?

No consumer is the same, and no vineyard or winery is the same, the way that no patient in a healthcare situation is the same. We all have variables that are individual to us.

It means that the experience and communication – in the hospital, and around wine – can be personalized and customized.

That’s what data does, and that’s what our team knows to do best.

Please let me know if we can help you, and your data.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

When a Millennial Gets the Wine Data Bug AND Has Chutzpah? It's a Win for Wine.

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Millennials.

Everyone in the wine industry is chasing them as consumers. Personally, I’m interested in them as “who’s next” for wine + data.

They’ve got ideas.

They’ve got fresh perspective.

They don’t feel tied — or obliged — to how things have always been done.

Fortunately, through my teaching gigs at universities and MBA students around the world, I get to meet these people and hear those ideas. Even more fortunately, millennials outside those formal programs sometimes reach out directly to talk about wine + data.

That’s when I get to add chutzpah to their list of qualifications.

This week, we’re shining the spotlight onto a millennial-with-chutzpah-who-also-does-wine-and-data. Her name is Gianna DiGiovanni, she’s worked in both Napa and Italy, and she’s in her senior year at the University of Southern California with a dual focus on Business and Applied Analytics.

She’s my kind of millennial. And I’ve invited her to be the second feature in our Derek Jeter-inspired series that puts the storytelling of wine + data into the hands of people who actually live it. (The first one, two weeks ago, was Randy Browne at C. Mondavi & Family.)

Here’s the story, about wine + data + millennials, in Gianna’s own words.

What's interesting to you about data, and about data for the wine industry?

I have always been fascinated with numbers and patterns, so naturally, data and the whole idea of big data in business caught my attention. I was able to act on this passion of mine when I started as a freshman at the University of Southern California in 2015, studying Business Administration. During my sophomore year, I enrolled in my first analytics course. I fell in love immediately. 

My interest in the wine industry is another story that I believe is attributed to my upbringing. My dad is a farmer and my childhood was surrounded by almonds, walnuts, sweet potatoes and peaches. Growing up, the importance of agriculture and knowing where your food came from was inherent. Everyone I knew either was a farmer or had a farmer in their family. It wasn't until coming to college that I learned how rare my situation was. Not everyone understands the importance of the agricultural industry, and most take it for granted. I believe it is my understanding of how much work is put into harvesting a crop, like grapes, that truly makes me appreciate a product like wine. 

What I have learned from my fascination with the wine industry and data is that there is a huge disconnect between the two. Unlike most industries that have already begun to integrate big data into their operations, the wine industry has yet to do so. I have made it my mission to make up for this lag. By marrying the two together, wine and data, the industry can make a tremendous leap into a new age in wine, one where wineries can better understand their consumer and better distribute their product. 

How are you learning the skills you think you'll need for a career in this area?

I am extremely fortunate to be in school, pursuing my minor while the world is making the shift to big data. I have been able to learn from some of the best professors in the field of data analysis and work hands-on with data from actual companies like Yelp and Sams Club. My toolkit of skills has grown with each application and new software that I am taught. 

I have also been able to add skills and experiences to my toolkit outside of school. Over the past two summers I have worked in Italy and the Napa Valley, becoming more knowledgeable about the wine industry and the customers, market, and product that it's comprised of. 

My hope is that by having an understanding of the industry and the skills to manipulate the data, I will graduate with a well-established toolkit that will help me get to where I want to go, professionally. 

What are the biggest challenges you face now, or you will face in the coming years, working with data in wine?

Changing a centuries-old industry to adapt to the modern world is a challenge in itself. This is something that all those interested in analyzing data in wine face. For me, this has meant the job that I hope to one day have doesn't yet exist. I cannot simply learn from those who have paved the road ahead of me, I have to seek people out from all over. 

The challenge to pursue a career path that is oddly specific and that doesn't already exist, keeps things interesting. 

I’ve learned that no matter the industry, making sense of the data available is the key to gaining beneficial insight. I plan to learn from those who are already making sense of their data, so that when the time comes and wineries are ready to make the leap into the world of big data, I will be prepared with the tools necessary to help them succeed.

Peek Under the Hood of Wine + Data

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This week one thing became abundantly clear, and it has to do with what usually goes unseen.

I’m talking about what’s “under the hood” when it comes to how we work with data for the wine industry. I’m talking about the mechanics and the HOW things get done, that normally don’t get much of the attention.

Except they should. Because that’s the engine that’s driving this whole endeavor.

Things like programming in languages like Python, and storing data in cloud-based data lakes, and the automated processing of data (including the use of machine learning), all in service to accuracy and speed.

Here’s another way to say it: The front end of what we do is still very educational and user-friendly, but the engine behind it has been revved up exponentially.

Google, Microsoft and many other companies are pouring billions of dollars into the development of new intelligent technologies, and we’re early adopters of many of their platforms. Which means that our clients can forego the investment internally and leave the data management in the hands of people who do it all day, every day.

That isn’t me, by the way. I’ve written candidly before about how I don’t get things like machine learning, either, and gladly leave it to the pros on my team. But I do get the results of their work, and what those results mean for our clients.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. Or maybe knowing the ins-and-outs of Python and cloud-based data lakes rocks your world. Either way, we all want to know how all of this engineering can help our business. 

Let’s talk about it. Drop me a line, and let’s see what we can do together.

Thank you, as always, for reading and for your feedback.

3 Common Questions about Wine + Data, and What They Mean for Your Business

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Questions.

Sometimes we have them but we don’t get to ask them, and sometimes we don’t know which ones to ask.

Which is why, for this week’s post, I want to address three wine data-related questions that we’ve been hearing repeatedly these past few months. If they’re on the minds of people we actually get to speak to, we think the chances are pretty good that they might be on your mind too.

So let’s get to it.

***

Question: I understand that you work with a winery’s own data, and that you work with third party data from your network of partners. Do the two kinds of data ever overlap, and work together?

Our Answer: We love this question, and the answer is yes. We can work with both sets of data and, actually, it’s one way to extract maximum benefit out of a project.

We love this question because it’s a creative way to merge two styles of data. On one hand you have specific information about your own customers, like their geographic distribution and buying patterns over time. On the other hand you have more general information about wine consumers’ geographic distribution and buying patterns over time. Overlay those two kinds of information, add additional fields like varietal and price point, and you start to see possibilities, such as greater or lesser concentrations of interest for the style of wines you’re selling, and the historical trends for that interest over time.

***

Question: Do you also advise on implementing the results of your analysis?
Our Answer: We are equipped to do this, yes.

Candidly, however, it is very much a collaborative effort. When we deliver our findings to a client they appreciate the unbiased and quantified analysis and point of view, but they also see (with some clarity and imagination, I might add) exactly what they need to do with those findings. In fact, they’ve envisioned how to put the findings to work in ways we ourselves hadn’t imagined, simply by virtue of their knowing their business better than anyone else.

That’s the incredibly cool part of opening a new window onto insights that are mostly, until now, unseen.

***

Question: Can you interface with the CRM we already use?

Our Answer: Yes. In most cases we can interface to them out of the box. We have connectors to all Salesforce-based CRMs. We also realize that there are many ways that wineries manage information about their customers. How about those we haven’t yet interfaced with? In most cases, the common denominator is that we’d need the appropriate rights and access to connect. Our engineers are experts at writing the appropriate scripts and implement automation, so that ultimately this becomes a non-issue.

***

Those are a few of the most common questions we’ve heard lately. How about you? What are your questions, and how can we help?

Drop us a line and let us know. Sometimes it’s easiest to schedule a webinar and show some visuals, and we’re game for that too.

Looking forward to your ideas and questions and thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

8 Reasons We're Psyched about Wine + Data in 2018

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Last month, as I sat down to reflect on Enolytics 2017, I realized that the most compelling ideas of the past year have also planted the seeds for what's to come, in 2018 and beyond.

It was a long list of "seed" ideas and developments that inspires and motivates me for the year ahead.

I've narrowed it down, here, to eight.

1. The increasing ability to segment wine consumer data by demographics like gender and ethnicity, at the quantitative scale in very precise geographic areas. This will result in very targeted delivery of information to consumers and we can say good-bye, for good, to the "spray and pray" guesswork approach.

2. Wineries and organizations are empowered to do more with their own data, and to seek out data from independent sources that relates to their own brands. In the coming weeks I'll be sharing an example of a winery who's put this into practice.

3. As more people learn about our work and see the results, we're building momentum from recognition and awareness. A recent endorsement comes from Pedro Ballesteros MW of Spain:

We associate wine with pleasure and cultural experience, something difficult to quantify, but Enolytics demonstrates that big data on our aggregated preferences for enjoying wine can result in clear patterns and tendencies. Big data should make life easier for producers to position the wines that the consumers request, while not taking an iota of our enjoyment!

4. We're also seeing more requests and queries from students at many levels, particularly MBA, WSET and Master of Wine programs. It isn't just that they're asking questions about our work and outcomes; it's also the nature of the questions that they're asking. That tells us a lot about interests and directions to come.

5. Our network of data partners is becoming ever more diverse, and each of them brings something unique to the table. Our team's ability to aggregate various sources of data, and derive insights from that, is the ace up our sleeve.

6. So far the international component of Enolytics has been driven by companies and organizations from abroad who are looking to expand their presence in the U.S. market. We're now seeing those companies also looking to replicate our research in their home countries. It's thanks to the global footprint of our data partners that we're able to do this.

7. Closer to home, we're also seeing the development of interest from producers in California, Oregon and Washington. This has been, as we expected from the start, slower to reach a tipping point and we are not there yet. But we are patient and eager to talk with wineries about their needs and budgets, and find the solutions that are right for them.

8. We're in the midst of a shift away from wineries and organizations seeing data as something overwhelming and incomprehensible, to something that's useful, empowering and -- dare we say it? -- friendly and interactive. I sense this during my own conversations with potential clients, and also during conversations with our network of data partners.

What about you? What's on your mind, as the New Year gets underway? I'd love to hear.

It's going to be an amazing 2018, and I'm incredibly grateful to be along for the ride with you.

Thank you.

Introducing Two More Pieces of the Wine Consumer Puzzle

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These past few weeks I've been working to cultivate and grow our network of data partners. It's an ongoing process, as I've written about before, to establish the relationships that will eventually yield the insights about consumer behavior that we and our clients find valuable.

It's also incredibly exciting, to learn about the unique personalities of different wine platforms and what they can each contribute to the wine consumer puzzle that we're piecing together.

This week I'd like to share with you two things that have particularly piqued my interest during the course of these most recent conversations. They come from two different platforms, one that's fairly new and one that's well-established.

Beverage Media Group

For as much as I’m a personal fan of small-production wines, and the small importers and distributors who bring them to market, there’s also no denying the sway and influence of major distributors. It’s a significant advantage of the Beverage Media Group to have 20+ years worth of trade data for the country’s biggest players, particularly in major price-posting markets of the Northeastern U.S., including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Looking for localized buying trends in the eCommerce market? BevMedia’s data has the reach and the history that speaks to them.

Quini

Besides their focus on providing deep sensory data and analytics, what piques my interest about Quini Wine Intelligence is the visibility it provides retailers into the taste profiles of their customers. (See image above.) The tasting application records between 50 and 60 data points about any given wine, which is feedback that the retailer can see in real time. Which means that the retailer can pull up the customer’s profile while they’re standing in the store, for example, or when the retailer is putting together their next wine club shipment or promotion that steers the customer toward a flavor profile that they already favor.

What's cool is to see the puzzle pieces clicking into place. What's especially cool is to see the picture of today's wine consumer become more clear with each additional piece of the puzzle.

The information is already there. It's a question of assembling it -- the right pieces, in the right configuration -- in order to best address your business' needs.

How can we help your business, particularly here at the start of Q4?

Drop me a line and let me know. I'm listening.

Thank you, as always, for reading these posts.

Three Lightbulb Moments: What Clients Use Our Research For

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“What do clients use your research for?”

That’s a pretty a sure-bet question that I hear as I present Enolytics to interested people and groups in the industry. It’s an important question, of course, and I love to answer it because it shines a light on how wine businesses execute on new insights into consumer behavior and sentiment.

Every business or group will have unique applications, but here are three lightbulb moments that consistently flip the switch of understanding what this research means for them.

1. Heatmaps of Consumer Interest

Sure, a business knows where their accounts are located, and which restaurants and retailers are performing well (or not). But every time we have overlaid a map of accounts with a map of consumer interest from exactly the same market, the two maps have never once matched up.

The lightbulb goes on, about where the business can allocate fresh resources to engage consumers that have already exhibited an interest in their wines.

2. Benchmarking

What is the current state of consumer behavior around a particular category? A particular price point? A particular varietal, even? We not only need to know the lay of the land, sometimes we have to find the land in the first place in order to measure our position in it. That’s where benchmarking comes in.

The lightbulb goes on, about a baseline understanding of consumer sentiment around a specific interest or query. The baseline is built from previously untapped sources, in priority markets and in markets that the research newly positions on the radar.

3. Defining the Competitive Set

When we query a particular brand or a specific wine, we can see consumer behavior around that wine and, often, other wines within the same “session” or the discrete period of time that the user is active on the platform. Those other wines that the consumer is exploring at the same time that they’re exploring our key wine help to define the competitive set.

The lightbulb goes on, about what the consumer sees as a wine’s competitive set. Yes, it often includes wines from the same region or style, which makes sense to “wine people.” But it gets really interesting to see the competitive set from the eyes of consumers, which has inevitably added curve balls to wine businesses’ rationale.

What would be a lightbulb moment for you? What’s a pain point that you need to address?

Drop me a line. I’d really like to hear about it, and identify the data that will help to shine some light on it.

As always, thank you for reading.

SevenFifty Technology + Wine Spectator Scores

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A few weeks ago I was psyched to write about two developments in the world of wine and data – new initiatives launched by one of the most established companies in the space (Wine-Searcher.com), and another by one of the more recent (Drizly).

This week, with a new announcement, I’m experiencing a bit of déjà vu.

On Wednesday this week SevenFifty announced their partnership with Wine Spectator, to be followed in short order by Wine Enthusiast, to include wine scores and reviews for the products listed on SevenFifty. (SevenFifty, in case you don’t know them, enables buyers from restaurants, bars and retailers to search for products and wholesale pricing across all distributor profiles in their local markets.)

Here’s a big reason why this week’s announcement is cool IMO: SevenFifty has managed to innovate a very old school way of doing something (digitizing distributor portfolios, that is) and now they are building a bridge to another long-standing – and indisputable – market influencer of the wine industry.

What sort of impact will this have?

We’ll see.

And right there is the thing: we will see, because it’s happening. What’s happening is that wine companies, both established and new, are stepping into the data space and making waves that are more significant than just dipping in their toe. Data offers insights, yes, and in our opinion it also offers a view of the consumer and the trade that just has not been available to the industry in the past.

It also, by the way, offers companies a way to monetize their data that they maybe did not initially envision.

Who wants in on something like that?

The question is starting to be, who doesn’t?

Even if you don’t yet know exactly what data means for you, or how to use it or how to access it, you’ve got to know that there’s something here.

You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t.

We can help you figure it out. For the record, conversations that start with, “I’m not sure what this means for us but…” are some of my absolute favorites to have.

Here’s my email: cathy@enolytics.com

And here’s my cell: +1.702.528.3717.

Let’s talk about it.

Thank you, as always, for reading --

Monetizing Wine Data

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Three key learnings around monetizing wine data have risen to the surface these past few weeks. I’d like to share them with you here, and they have to do with what wine businesses are willing to pay for, the pressure of investors, and how data scientists create efficiencies.

Where the Money Is

It’s one thing to collect the data; in fact, that’s what most digital platforms are literally engineered from the start to do. It’s another thing to use the data, and to know how to work with it most effectively. It’s the second part – putting the data to use – that earns the money. It’s what businesses are willing to pay for. Crossing the bridge from collecting data to applying it is the journey of Enolytics and every other data-oriented company I know.

Investors

The pressure an entrepreneur feels to take money from investors is palpable and profound, particularly within startup-heavy ecosystems in the U.S. like New York, San Francisco, and Boston. There does come a time when taking the money makes sense, namely when you’ve reached the tipping point of scale. We’re getting there, and we’re also mindful that we’re working within an industry that is for the most part still getting used to the mechanics of applying data to their business. In the meantime, I think there’s something to be said for building a product that businesses buy right now, learning from their comfort levels, and organically (and swiftly) edging things forward from there.

Efficiencies

I’m the first to say that I am not a data scientist. I’m a communicator and an observer. Here’s what I’ve learned while observing Enolytics’ team work with the data: it’s harder than you’d think, and every engagement that involves a new data set is an opportunity for efficiencies of scale. The more we do this, the more streamlined the workflow becomes. The more streamlined the workflow becomes, the more we can replicate the process quickly so that more wine businesses can gain relevant insights into their individual slice of the pie.

Here’s the bottom line: Data is a differentiator. It’s worth basing strategic decisions on.

Which means it can disrupt your business – for the better.

I’d love to hear what bells are ringing for you when it comes to monetizing wine data. Please be in touch by phone (+1.702.528.3717) or email (cathy@enolytics.com).

Thank you, as always, for reading –

How Data Tells the Story of Wine

Summer! Officially!

Time for long weekends, beach reads, and cool, refreshing drinks in our glass.

So it totally “fit” to be working on a project this week about sparkling wine.

The idea was to get a baseline understanding of consumer behavior around sparkling wine. By consumer behavior, we mean things like the categories that consumers are rating highly; the occasions that consumers are celebrating, and their everyday sentiment toward bubbles too; and the performance of Prosecco versus Champagne versus Cava, as well as the best-performing markets for each.

It’s been a lot of fun, and incredibly interesting too to dig into the details of those queries.

What also became clear is how much more can be done.

One thing we’re beginning to see is the value that non-wine-focused data can also add to a project like this.

It’s like doing the research to write a compelling story. As we develop the narrative to get us to the end goal, we see what other sources of information can help to flesh out the plotline. Socio-economic data, for example, tells us things like what kind of house the consumer lives in and what sort of income they’re bringing home. Detailed geo-located weather data describes the scenery and atmosphere around a consumer’s behavior at a specific time of year, like a hot, sunny holiday weekend when searches and scans spike for sparkling wine. And etc.

The point is that these data streams help to sketch in the profile of the consumer, and they provide the context for their behavior involving particular styles of wine.

Data might seem very binary and very zeros-and-ones. But there’s a tremendous amount of creativity involved, too, in using the data to create the narrative that answers the questions the client needs to know.

Enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend, and thank you as always for reading –