wine data

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

3x3insights.png

“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

BDWA.png

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

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

Flickr_-_Nicholas_T_-_Open_Road.jpg

It was a little bit like feeling the gears shift.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And etc.

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

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

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

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

*****

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

Fue un poco como sintiendo que se subía de marchas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Y etc.

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

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

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

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

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

FreeWebinar.jpg

What does data + wine mean to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support –

Cathy and Andrés


Invitación gratuita al webinar de Enolytics Spain:

Perspectiva internacional sobre Big Data + Vino

¿Qué significado tiene para ti Big Data + Vino?

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

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

Esta semana en particular enfocaremos el acento español.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gracias por vuestro continuo interés y apoyo –

Cathy y Andrés

Depletion Data Case Study: Insights from Within the Winery Itself

DepletionDataScreenshot.png

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

Someone Else Asked the Very Question You Were Wondering. Here’s How to Eavesdrop on the Answer.

eavesdrop.jpg

Today, let me offer you a chance to eavesdrop.

It isn’t exactly eavesdropping, I guess, when what I’m inviting you to listen to is a publicly available podcast. But the idea is the same: to listen in, like a fly on the wall, to a conversation happening between other people.

What’s cool is that the people involved in the conversation are just like you: a winemaker (in this case, Sam Coturri of Winery Sixteen 600) and an enthusiastic consumer and participant in the wine industry (in this case, John Myers, co-host of The Wine Makers podcast, based in Sonoma).

They’d invited me as a guest on their podcast a few weeks ago, and I’d like to share the link to it with you here.

Let me tell you, it was FUN and I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to it.

The most relevant reason that I’m sharing it with you here, though, is that the first 25 or 30 minutes of the podcast are devoted to John and Sam asking questions about Enolytics that, I would venture to guess, maybe you’ve also wondered but haven’t yet had a chance to ask directly. Things like…

  • The wine industry is so complicated. How can data help us untangle it?

  • How can we do a better job assessing the data we already have around wine?

  • How can data explain trends, like the popularity of Rhône varietals in Sonoma and packaging alternatives like canned wine? What are the drivers for those trends, and how can we see it in the data?

  • Where did the idea of Enolytics come from?

  • There’s less of an opportunity for data points to be generated when the production of a wine is limited, as ours is. What happens then?

And etc.

Talking with people is one of the things I enjoy most about being the “public face” of Enolytics. I love when someone calls me up. I love when someone asks me to sit down. If there’s wine or food or both between us, all the better.

There was a fair amount of that during this podcast conversation too, because Sam is Sam and we happened to be recording the podcast on the day he was hosting a duck confit taco fest and opening library wines. Which means we laughed a lot and I heard myself asking for more of his wine at least twice, and the conversation expanded to other topics like the one-year anniversary of the wildfires, and wellness in the wine industry and A Balanced Glass and Phil Coturri doing yoga, and the Sonoma County Wine Auction lot to benefit affordable housing, and mutual friends like Nicole Rolet of the Fine Minds 4 Fine Wine project, and the Vinexpo Explorer program, and then my nephew Bavo from Belgium was there, and suddenly the taco truck arrived…

And etc.

It was casual. It was fun. It was classic Sonoma. Most of all, it was a conversation over a few glasses of really good wine about things that matter to us in the industry.

Sam and John are in your shoes, and asking the questions you may be wondering. I hope you’ll “eavesdrop” to catch the back-and-forth, and be in touch if something sparks your interest and you’d like to know more.

Call me up. Ask me to sit down. Let’s keep sharing some wine and some ideas.

I look forward to it.

And thank you, as always, for reading.

Peek Under the Hood of Wine + Data

UnderTheHood.jpg

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.

If We Didn't Collaborate, We Wouldn't Have a Reason to Exist

collaborate.png

Let me start with Thanks.

Last week I asked for your feedback and input on data sources in the areas of wine and food tourism, in advance of the keynote I’m giving in a few weeks in Cape Town. And boy, did you deliver! It’s incredibly exciting to flesh out the presentation with hands-on learnings from fresh sources and efforts in parts of the world that, frankly, were brand new to me.

So thank you, sincerely.

That example sets the stage perfectly for what I’d like to focus on this week, and it has to do with collaboration.

If we didn’t collaborate, we wouldn’t have a reason to exist.

That’s because the true definition of a big data company is to aggregate multiple sources of data across multiple platforms. For us that means building out an ecosystem of data partners who each deliver raw data that’s useful for our clients. In some cases it’s a winery’s own data that’s one of the sources.

As I said, it’s about collaboration.

In practice, and in a very simplified sense, this is how it works.

  1. Listen to the client. Understand intimately the area of research.

  2. Draft a scope of work.

  3. Iterate the scope, from both sides, in order to extract maximum value and to clarify expectations.

  4. Execute the scope of work.

  5. Enolytics delivers the results, via Webinar or in person

  6. Give the client time to process the results, within their own framework for business and at their own pace.

  7. Client asks follow up questions.

  8. Enolytics responds.

  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 till the area of scoped research is well understood.

Want to see how this looks, from the perspective of our clients? Please have a look at our revised Press page for their opinions in their own words.

Here’s what’s important to understand: Collaboration isn’t a one-time interaction. It’s a partnership, back and forth, over a fairly long period of time with a lot of touchpoints.

Yes, we’ll get to know each other personally. Yes, we’ll explore ideas that will be new on all sides. And yes, both of our businesses will grow in the process.

How can we help you grow? What ideas have been percolating, that you’re ready to move on?

We’re here and ready to respond, collaboratively.

Thank you, again, for your help and thank you, as always, for reading.

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

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

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

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

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

[ahem]

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

  1. How can data about wine help?

  2. How can data about food help?

  3. How can data about tourism help?

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

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

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

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

Which is all good, and really exciting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you in advance for your help.

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

questionmarks.jpg

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

“Accurate Data, Controlled by Producers”: A Case Study of the Global Wine Database

Image Courtesy of Global Wine Database

Image Courtesy of Global Wine Database

Look, everybody knows it’s a crazy idea.

To document every single wine made, all around the world, and warehouse the information in one central location.

(My first reaction: “Wait. What?” Second reaction: “Herculean.” Third reaction: “Sisyphean,” as in, desirable, super labor-intensive, and just out of reach.)

I mean, who does that? And, more importantly, why?

The “who” is David Gluzman and his team at Calgary-based Global Wine Database. GWDB started out, almost as a beta test and along with the help of the Canadian Vintners Association, to successfully execute their vision to document every single wine in their home country of Canada.

They proved it’s possible. More than that, they proved it’s beneficial to the entire Canadian wine industry. You can see the results for yourself here. Prior to the launch of this website, Gluzman said, “the world didn’t truly know all that much about the landscape of Canadian viticulture, like the fact that the country produces more than 130 different grape varieties. Today every winery has access to store and share the facts of what they produce, to the entire world, for free.”

Which brings us to the “why” of this idea.

GWDB’s tagline says it all: “Accurate data, controlled by producers.”

That’s a pretty big clue to what this is all about.

To enable wineries to control the facts that are “out there” about their wines, including vintage-to-vintage variation, updated tech sheets, label shots, and reviews.

You upload the information once, basic details like location, logos and tasting notes. The beauty of the platform is what happens next, and automatically.

  • Corporate websites that the winery owns are updated, such as the public-facing website and the ecommerce store.
  • Trade and media websites are updated, which means retailers can go directly to GWDB for the latest technical notes.
  • Any third-party apps that are integrated with GWDB are updated, which makes it that much easier to stay on top of the information consumers see when they pull up your wine in apps like Vivino and Delectable.
  • The cycle repeats itself whenever new information, like the next vintage, is uploaded.

Data people can geek out, pretty far, about the technology that enables all of this to happen. Because it’s impressive.

The takeaway for everyone else is that bit about wineries themselves presenting, accurately, the information that’s circulating about their wines.

Think about what happens when you search for a movie on Google. You can find out almost everything about it, like who produced it, the actors, the writers and so much more. When you do the same for wine, however, the data is incredibly fragmented or non-existent.

“We’re providing a platform to allow third parties to integrate into accurate wine data,” Gluzman said. “Future technology – from Augmented Reality to Artificial Intelligence to Blockchain – all depend on data. The wineries have it, but they don’t have a place to put it for the world to access. That’s us.”

Word.

Not sure about you, but learning about GWDB has set my mind racing. Most of all, like last week’s post on Saturnalia’s vineyard satellite data, I’m totally psyched that these initiatives are live and solid and fertile ground for much more creative thinking about how data can help improve our industry.

Please drop a line and let me know what’s on your mind too.

Thank you,

Cathy

Wine Data, Italian Style: Letter from Verona

pasqua.jpg

It was highly unusual, and very atypical, for the Italian wine world.

(Which is why it caught my eye, when I learned about it earlier this week at the 2018 edition of Vinitaly International in Verona.)

Last month in Milan, an individual winery from the Veneto region called Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine held a press conference where they shared publicly, to a room of about 70 journalists, the results of a research project that they commissioned from Wine Monitor – Nomisma.

It wasn’t unusual for a winery to hold a press conference.

It wasn’t unusual that they’d discuss their revenue growth and highlight the strengths of their annual report.

It wasn’t unusual that they’d reveal a clever new marketing campaign (“Talent Never Tasted Better”) that features young, local innovators in the restaurant, dance and art fields.

What was unusual was their sharing of research that they’d commissioned themselves, in order to contribute to the “community of Italian producers, to be stronger all around the world together,” in the words of Riccardo Pasqua, the winery’s Amministratore Delegato.

“We don’t want to just make the research that we keep jealously for ourselves,” he said. “We’re making more of a common effort to work as a system. It’s something we’re really lacking in Italy. We tend to be very jealous of our things and don’t talk to each other too much, but we’d like to set a new trend.”

I couldn’t agree more, both as a fan of Italian wine and as an advocate for collaborative relationships that benefit the industry as a whole.

So what was this research? And is it actually helpful to other Italian wineries?

Only if they’re interested in selling wine to the US market.

Pasqua commissioned Wine Monitor to study fine red wines in particular, to compare France’s Grand Grus with Italy’s denominations, and to identify promising markets for growth. (Secret’s out. It’s Texas.) More information is here, publicly available.

Kudos to them.

I love finding out about initiatives like this, from wineries to data platforms to research firms. It’s another element to add to the idea of “all boats rise.”

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

Happy Holidays from Enolytics! Here's Why We're Grateful.

Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 2.42.52 AM.png

It has been an amazing year to be in the wine + data space.

Every week, with these Enolytics 101 posts, we've been describing that amazing journey. Hopefully they've been useful to you, as they have been to us, as we continue to learn what's possible when it comes to wine companies engaging better with consumers.

Thank you for your emails in response.

Thank you for your interest and questions.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Thank you for challenging us to do better.

Thank you for your business.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

See you in the New Year. We've got lots to do together.

Cathy Huyghe, Co-Founder, Enolytics

SevenFifty Technology + Wine Spectator Scores

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 6.13.27 AM.png

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 --

Letter from London: Practical Uses of Data for Wine

Our intention to focus these Enolytics 101 posts on applications of big data got a big boost this week, and it came from across the Atlantic.

Richard Siddle, the London-based co-founder and editor of The-Buyer.net, treated us to a Q&A in a trade publication called Grapevine. Grapevine is, to my American English-speaking eyes, straight-shooting and sometimes irreverent and other times ironic and at all times very British, and therefore an utterly compelling read.

So it was a pleasure to be in Richard's line of fire. Here's some of what we covered:

  • Using data to understand the big picture of how consumers are engaging with wine online.
  • How consumers behave around individual wines online.
  • Redefining competitive sets, by looking through the eyes of consumers.
  • Market-specific sentiment.
  • Pricing and availability over time.

I encourage you to read the interview here -- just scroll down to "My Week With..."

I am, of course, happy to go into further detail on any of the points. Just drop me a line at cathy@enolytics.com or by phone at +1.702.528.3717.

Thank you, as always, for reading -- 

Talk Data to Me: 8 Real World Terms for the Non-Data Scientist

The ace up the sleeve of Enolytics is, hands down, our data team. I sit in the room with them and watch them work, observe them interact with each other, and listen to them communicate in "their language" which is, still, new to me.

They are the data scientists while I am, for my part, a communicator. Which means that I'm interested in this language they're speaking, and in how I can go out and translate these terms from the world of data to the world of wine. 

Here are eight words and concepts about big data that I've learned since Enolytics began, that are helpful for making the leap of communication from data scientist to end user in the wine business.

I've organized the list roughly into the workflow that I observe happening in our projects. The scientists would no doubt describe it differently but, over the course of learning how to talk with wine people about big data, these are the terms and the sequence that make sense.

  1. Query. A query is the request we make of our data partners that enables them to “pull” the records we need. Identifying the right query – asking the right question – often seems to me like the trickiest part of the process.
  2. Anonymized. The raw data records we receive have been anonymized, or stripped of their identifying tags that would enable someone to trace a record to a specific user. This protects the privacy of the user.
  3. Interactive Dashboard. We build interactive dashboards in order to transform the raw data from individual records into a navigable interface. The dashboard looks in many ways like a website, with point-and-click functionality.
  4. Fields. The dashboard is comprised of areas of interest, or fields, that are significant to the project at hand. Depending on the project’s objective, a field could be anything from vintage to sales channel, and from brand name to zip code.
  5. Package and Visualize. When we take raw data and use it to build interactive dashboards, we have “packaged” the data so that it can be accessed and seen, or “visualized,” in a more user-friendly way than the spreadsheet format of thousands of rows.
  6. Aggregate. Layering one data source on top of another, such as U.S. census data on top of the zip code dispersion of a winery’s DTC customers.
  7. Slice and Dice. Let’s say the client wants to understand the geography of consumer interest on a month-by-month basis. From the zip code field, they can select their top-performing neighborhood in, say, Chicago. From the calendar field, they can also select, say, October and/or November and/or December. Selecting and de-selecting portions or slivers of the data set allows the user to “slice and dice” according to their objectives.
  8. Insights. Insights are, essentially, lessons learned. I see them as lightbulb moments that occur when information is presented in a clear manner that is newly available.

I hope this makes sense, and thank you, as always, for reading --

PS I was honored to be interviewed last week for this HarvestSummit post, where I spoke about things like the characteristics of Enolytics’ early adopters, the ROI of big data, and adding some wabi-sabi to our best-laid plans.

The Startup Dust Settles. And What Waze has to Do with It.

Six months ago, we announced the launch of Enolytics.

Our goal is to bring the power of big data to the wine industry by pulling together multiple sources of data across multiple platforms, with an eye on discerning insights about wine consumer behavior and sentiment in particular.

Lots has happened since then.

We've done a lot of explaining what that means. We've done a lot of webexes and demonstrations of our data model. We've fielded a lot of questions, and hopefully quelled some skepticism along the way.

Most of all, we've listened.

That, more than anything, has helped to settle the dust of this early stage of our Enolytics startup.

Two things have become clear.

Wineries and wine companies have their own data that needs to be visualized and mined in order to make smarter, more strategic business decisions moving forward. This is internal, "closed loop" work that our data team is uniquely skilled to do.

Those companies also want to tap into data collected by our third party partners, in order to test their ideas against business intelligence about wine consumer behavior that is newly available to them. This is "external" work, where companies see their brand's position within the global context.

Those two avenues guide the direction of Enolytics' work.

It isn't necessarily the direction we thought we'd be headed when we launched six months ago. But that's the nature of startups: adaptability to the needs.

Here's a metaphor we use in our demos that seems to register:

Let's say you're driving to the airport. You could go the way you always go, the way that's familiar and routine. You know it like the back of your hand, but what you don't know is that there's been an accident that day and traffic is backed up. You miss your flight.

You could instead use a resource like Google Maps which monitors road conditions and, though it isn't the way you've always gone, it will offer an alternate route that will probably get you to the airport on time.

You could also use another (data-driven) resource like Waze which monitors road conditions, the location of police, potential obstacles and other delays. Your route will be optimized, your decision will be informed, and your chances of success will be heightened.

Enolytics can edge more wine companies closer to the Waze model. The data exists that will heighten your chances of success. It's a question of whether you'll opt in.

How can we help? Would you like to schedule a demo? Do you have specific questions? Is there a particular data source you'd like to access?

Let me know. I'm over here, listening.

Thank you, as always, for reading --