How Big is Big Data? Try 500,000,000 Records, and Counting.


It starts with a single consumer who’s drinking your wine.

They can be anywhere in the world, and they can be at home or in a restaurant or standing in the aisle of a retail outlet. The point is that this is where the data starts: with one person.

That one person has bought a wine, and they’re engaging some digital platform in order to document it for themselves or to share it with their friends. Those moments are when the data scale begins to tip, because that one person joins the chain of wine consumer behavior that is very quickly hundreds of links long.

Soon, simply because wine is dynamic and interactive and so too is the digital nature of things, those links multiply – to thousands, to hundreds of thousands, to millions, to hundreds of millions…

To billions.

That scale is where we find ourselves this week.

In other words, neck deep.

This week we’ve been working on a project in Europe. It involves several data sources and over 10 million records, just for starters.

Here’s one of the things that we want to do with that data: analyze consumer sentiment, which means breaking down user reviews into terms – each one a link in the wine consumer chain – that are analyzable algorithmically.

They’re words that an everyday consumer, your end consumer, uses to describe your wine. When each of their words in a consumer review is a data point, it’s also a new link in the chain we’re analyzing.

It’s about turning unstructured data (free text) into structured data. Some people call it natural-language processing (NLP) – a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which looks for the meaning of what consumers are saying and convert it to structured, mine-able data.

Let’s say that the 10 million records we’re starting with each contains a modest 10-word review. That’s 100 million data points.

When those words are in three different languages – English, German and Italian, in this case – the number of data points expands by another factor.

As of this writing, we’re processing more than one half of a billion (500,000,000) data records, and that’s just with one project.

The result is that we can confidently link the consumer sentiment, in their own words, to specific wines, brands, regions, varietals, and competitors. The number of data points continues to expand, and expand some more.

As I said, we’re neck deep.

We’ve had to make some adjustments, structurally speaking.

We had to enhance our infrastructure. We had to switch over to what’s called a data lake, which is a storage repository that holds a vast amount of raw data in its native format. And we’re harnessing the power of machine learning to do what we need to do to fulfill our promise to our clients.

Big data is big, right? But what we all need to remember is that it begins and ends with that one single consumer who’s buying and drinking your wine.

How can we apply the power of big data to help you reach that person?

We’ve got some ideas. Please be in touch, and let’s talk about it.

Thank you as always for reading.

Letter from London: Wine, Data and Blockchain at the London Wine Fair


Persuading people in the wine industry about the power and benefits of big data can be challenging enough.

(It’s why about 80% of my time is spent doing exactly that.)

Now. Try adding blockchain to the conversation, and we are suddenly at a whole new level of challenge.

I’m the first to say that I’ve got things to learn on this front. Fortunately, on Monday at the London Wine Fair, school will be in session. Specifically in the Innovation Zone, at the workshop called “How to Use Big Data and Blockchain Technology in Your Business.”

I’ll be presenting Enolytics alongside Jonathan Harclerode, chief executive of Bottlebooks, Jon Pollinger, CEO of TaTaTu, and Richard Siddle, session organizer, moderator and editor-in-chief of

If he’s true to form, as I expect he will be, Richard won’t be letting any of us off easy. That is, he’ll be holding us accountable – Jonathan, to explain the best ways to use data throughout the supply chain; Jon, to demonstrate the practical uses of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies for the wine industry; and me, to illustrate applications of big data around consumer behavior and insights.

We won’t be the first or the only ones to engage this question. At last December’s wine2wine conference in Verona, for example, Paul Mabray moderated a session that featured Paul Howard speaking about blockchain for wine.

It was barely five months ago, and already I feel like there are new things to say. The subject is that dynamic.

It’s why these sessions are so important, IMO. One builds on another. Each pushes the envelope a bit further. And every time there are questions. Questions of clarification. Questions about How do I…? Questions where the answers need to address what all of this technology means to the people in the audience in particular, and to the wine business in general.

That’s what I’ll be listening for, and looking to learn. It’s what I’m committed to bringing home, sharing with you, and making real for our clients.

Please stay tuned, and stay in touch. As always, I welcome your questions and suggestions and comments.

Thank you for reading, and for your interest --


Dry Creek Vineyard, an Enolytics' Early Adopter, Featured in Wines & Vines

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Early adopters.

They're some of the most important "assets" that a new venture can have.

They're the people who *get* what you're trying to do before anyone else does.

They're the ones who are willing to say, We don't exactly know how this is going to help, but we want to figure it out.

They're also the ones who are willing to speak up, who have the temerity to raise their hand first and say that there's value in the new idea.

Dry Creek Vineyard, and especially Michael Longerbeam, their DTC Manager, have been all of those things for us, almost from the very beginning of Enolytics two years ago.

Michael and his work at Dry Creek are featured this month in Wines & Vines magazine, in an article by Andy Starr called "How Wineries Take Advantage of Big Data," and we couldn't be happier to see him getting the recognition he deserves. (Screenshot from the online version is above.)

Enolytics is in the article too, in the context of providing something that every winery should have: a breakout of their wine portfolio by margin and volume, displayed in an easy-to-understand graphic.

It's what Michael first asked us to do with Dry Creek's data, and it's been a cornerstone of our work ever since. Please let us know if we can do the same for you.

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Dry Creek Vineyard. Thank you, Andy Starr and Wines & Vines.

We're psyched to keep the momentum flowing.

Wine Data to Move You from Traditional to Intelligence-Based Organization


Today I’d like to put Quini on your wine data radar.

It may not be on your radar yet, mainly because it’s based in British Columbia.

But here’s what’s important for the audience of this Enolytics 101 series to know about Quini: they use real-time data, in the form of wine consumer sensory and attitudinal feedback, to deliver personalized and actionable insights that a retailer, wine producer or large restaurant company can use immediately.

Here’s how it works. I’ll use the retail sales environment as an example.

  1. Introduction: A store offers their customers a smart, fast way to search for wine they will likely enjoy, on their website or in store on the customer’s smartphone, powered by Quini.
  2. Execution: Customers provide feedback on the Quini app about the wines they taste, whether at in-person tastings, at home, virtual wine club events or any other opportunity.
  3. Backend: The app records between 30 and 40 data points about any given wine, about descriptors like aromas and tannins but also about variables such as expectations and likeability.
  4. Bonus: Staff can also input their own feedback about the wine, as well as food pairings and other notes that are unique to the store.

The retailer is able to see that feedback in real time. Which means that the retailer can pull up the customer’s profile – while they’re standing in the store or when the retailer is putting together their next wine club shipment – and see that, for example, the customer has tried a few chardonnays that don’t seem to be jiving with their palate.

The retailer can then recommend different wines that steer away from what the customer didn’t like about the chardonnays, and focus more on specific wine, categories and types they did enjoy.

On their dashboard, the retailer can also spot wines the customer may have tried somewhere else and take action to be first in the area to bring it in – or offer to the customer a similar wine.

In a nutshell, retailers can automate their ability to service their customers like never before, using data.

“This helps to go from being a traditional retailer to a more intelligence-based organization,” said Roger Noujeim, CEO of Quini.

That’s why Quini is now on your radar.

Note: They’re based in British Columbia but the platform is usable in the US and worldwide, in winery, retail and restaurant environments.

Why am I telling you about this?

  1. Because it's way cool for anyone interested in wine and data. 
  2. Because we respect its technology and execution.
  3. Because it's powerful enough on its own, which also makes it exceptionally helpful as a data partner in our ecosystem, particularly when aggregated with complementary sources.

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

Mapping the Words of Wine, in Multiple Languages


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

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

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

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

Is that possible? I asked my data partner.

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

“What language do you want that in?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wine Data, Italian Style: Letter from Verona


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.

What You Learn about Data in a 16th Century Italian Villa


This week I'm writing from the University of Bologna, where I was invited to teach two courses to students in their MBA program -- first to the Food and Wine students about narrative and innovation, and second to all MBA students about big data.

(That's an image, above, of our classroom, complete with all of today's technology, in a school established in 1088, in a villa overlooking Bologna that was built in 1575, complete with frescoes on the walls and ceiling. There was also a fireplace that I could literally stand in, with a fresco depicting the burning of books during the Inquisition. Just, you know, because.)

The courses are about narrative, innovation and data, which are the three cornerstones that form the foundational tripod of my work life. It is built on these.

The students may have come into the room expecting to learn something from me, their teacher this week, but I came into the room expecting to learn something from them.

Tell me, I said, after I spoke to them about narrative and innovation and big data for wine. Tell me how to take what you know –- about data and your work lives in these different industries –- and make our work with Enolytics even better.

Which they did, one by one.

  • The people from the Innovation Management program spoke about data as it relates to distribution and the supply chain.
  • The people from Corporate Finance spoke about valuations and access to capital.
  • The people in the Design, Fashion and Luxury Goods track spoke about CRM and how to use it to create memorable experiences that translate to your most loyal, best-spending customers.
  • The people in Green Energy went right for the operational side of things, namely the growers and viticulturalists, and spoke about internal data to advance environmental efficiency.
  • And the people in the Food and Wine track spoke about the ways that data could be anonymized, shared and studied for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

Those students may have been in the class expecting to learn something from me, and maybe they did. But I doubt it was anything close to the amount that I learned from them.

It’s the very best of cross-pollination and, even moreso, from the point of view of the next generation of business leaders in wine and food and other industries too.

I’ll come away from Bologna this week with my marching orders for upcoming iterations of Enolytics. I’ll be incredibly excited to share the results with you here, of what we learn and how we evolve as a result. Please keep an eye on this space.

And let me know what's on your mind when it comes to data and your wine business.

Thank you, as always, for reading --

Best Time of Year for Chardonnay? You'd Be Surprised.


I love when things like this happen.

When we're working on a project and an insight surfaces that's of interest, not only to our client but to wine businesses in general.

In this case, it's about consumer interest in chardonnay, and specifically the time of year when that interest is at its peak.

Have a look at the graphic, above. We can't give away all the specifics, of course, but here's what matters from our historical analysis of chardonnay interest over time:

We are, right now, in the thick of the three-month period during the whole year when consumer interest in chardonnay is at its high point.

December, unsurprisingly, is the month of the year when interest exceeds any other.

But March-April-May?

Would you have expected that?

More importantly, perhaps, does your sales history reflect that interest?

And then there are the application questions, such as:

What's your plan for matching heights of consumer interest with your own outreach that meets that interest?

What's your plan if you don't sell chardonnay, but you do sell something that also appeals to chardonnay purchasing consumers?

Think about it. What other information do you need to refine your sales and marketing? How can we help you maximize the information you already have? And, better still, what are the possibilities for triangulating it with interest we can pull from our data partners?

Please let us know. We're here to help.

Thank you, as always, for reading --

Segmentation in Alcohol: A Drizly Case Study


This week I'd like to shift attention to what is, in my opinion, an excellent example of data analysis in our industry: Drizly's alcohol segmentation series, which explains how they broke their users into groups and personalized their communication to those groups according to the interests of each group.

This series is noteworthy for three reasons:

  1. The analysis was put into action, which resulted in an increase in revenue.
  2. Drizly explained clearly that their data scientists didn't go out and create the segmentation of users. "The segments already exist," author Justin Robinson wrote. "It's just a matter of whether or not you're paying attention."
  3. Users change their behavior. Data tracks those changes so that Drizly can surface the right products to the right people at the right time.

It's a cool example, and clearly explained. And, since the insights were put into action with quantified results, there are no lingering questions over whether big data analysis is useful or immediately applicable.

Well done, Drizly. And thank you for contributing to the "all boats rising" for this part of our industry, too.

What's on your mind, when it comes to big data for your wine business? Please let us know. We're here to help.

Thank you, as always, for reading --

ProWein through the Eyes of Enolytics Spain: A Letter from Düsseldorf

Photo Credit: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

Photo Credit: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

Special Guest Post by Andrés Bonet-Merten, Consejero Delegado of Enolytics Spain

The most significant takeaway for Enolytics Spain from ProWein 2018 is this:

I see a great future for the Spanish wine business’ use of big data analysis to address our issues in market communication, marketing their wine, and taking advantage of the tools offered by new technologies. Early adopters will lead the change – that is without a doubt – and government agencies will lead the transformation of reluctant producers and organizations with research and development programs.

There were three occasions during ProWein when this became clear.

ICEX, the Spanish Government Agency of Export

In speaking with Cathy Huyghe and ICEX, I saw that ICEX has a clear understanding of what comes next for new technologies that are entering the wine business. They are aware of the significant changes of technology and the speed and capacity of new sources of big data that are being used by early adopters in Spain, in order to understand and analyze consumer sentiment, preferences and behaviour when buying wine. ICEX understands that the jump forward in market intelligence through big data analytics offered by Enolytics is significant, and that it offers a fresh perspective and alternative to traditional market studies.

CEOs and Other Executives

In speaking to CEOs and other executives who showed an open mind to our proposition, I saw that big data today is like the internet of the 1990s. They believes that data can fill a blind spot about wine consumers, which can provide them with a great competitive advantage.

The physical gap between wine producer and end consumer is enormous. After delivery of the wine to the importers in the world markets, in general, Spanish wineries lose control and insight of how, where and at which price their wine is marketed. Enolytics may put light there and deliver valuable information to the winery and the distribution network that will compel better communication between the wineries and their importers and distribution network. Filling this lack of communication could optimize the business of all the parties involved, using a win-win strategy and providing greater control of the commercialization of their wine in any market. 

Discussing Consumer Language

Another blindspot for wineries is the use of consumer language. Little attention has been given to how consumers themselves actually speak – what they would really like to read on the back labels, for example, what mottos would be appealing to consumers, which words consumers use to describe their wine or their competitors’ wines. Messages are sent only in one way, from the winery to the markets, but it is rare to follow serious analysis of consumer feedback or the specific wine language that is used.

Some Spanish wineries have realized that “being the best wine” isn’t enough of a value proposition to differentiate themselves from every other Spanish winery who markets themselves as “being the best wine.” Adapting the wine's style, its brand, label, marketing and commercialization towards the consumer's sentiment and behaviour is a great turning point. Big data analysis instead would deliver them quick information, even in real time or even further as predictive analysis. 

Next Steps

Trusting new technologies like big data analysis is a hard matter in the Spanish world of wineries. Proof that it really works is a common argument. We have initial case studies, and we have early adopters. Now is the time to keep pushing forward, so that data can be an integral part of the exciting evolution of Spanish wine. 

For more information about Enolytics Spain, please contact:  


tel. +34 601 35 10 24

Wine Data Visualization: Michelin Restaurants and High-Priced Wines

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Here's a peek at something we've been working on around the office lately.

(I write that and it sounds off-handed but, believe me, there's nothing flip about the effort that's gone into this process.)

The map above responds to a client request to understand consumer behavior around their wines in Michelin-reviewed restaurants in a target market, which in this case is Washington DC.

That was the question. To work toward an answer, our team took a few carefully considered steps.

We started with a data set of street addresses of Michelin-reviewed restaurants in Washington, and we mapped those. They're represented by the balloons.

That's the first data set.

Then we overlayed that geo-tagged information with a second data set, namely consumer scans of wine labels that are also geo-tagged. They're represented by the pins.

Then we correlated the latitudes and longitudes of those data records, which are accurate to within 50 feet, with the locations of the Michelin-reviewed restaurants.

Then we segmented by red wine, since that's the concern of the client.

Then we segmented by price point, since that's also the concern of the client.

Then we segmented by region of origin of the wine, such as the U.S. versus Italy versus Spain versus France versus Argentina.

Now we're diving into additional variables. One example is the competitive set, that is, other labels that were scanned within the limited parameters of the same session.

Another example we're diving into is consumer reviews of these wines, which our team can also map using our proprietary algorithm for hundreds of frequently used wine descriptive terms in the English language.

And so on, and so on, depending on the needs and questions of the client.

The map you see above is one small slice of this specific project, but the implications are huge when you consider how these processes can be extrapolated -- for wine retailers or grocery stores, for example, instead of Michelin-reviewed restaurants.

And so on, and so on, depending on the needs and questions of the client.

This is just one part of one project. There's a world of data out there, and we'd love to put it to work for you.

How can we help?

Please let me know your thoughts and questions, and thank you as always for reading.

4 Takeaways from a Standing Room Only Session at Vinexpo


Earlier this week it was my pleasure to moderate a panel during the launch of Vinexpo in New York, on the topic of millennials' purchasing power and the rise of ecommerce.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who was curious to hear what the panelists had to say -- there was standing room only, with willing attendees (not so happily) turned away, and lots of questions during the session and afterward.

It was one of those "That went well!" events, and I was psyched for the panelists to voice their perspective on the topic.

Let me bottom line the conversation for you in these few essential points:

  1. The data already exists that tells us what we need to know about millennials and ecommerce. That's because they're telling us what they want, every minute of every day, and leaving a digital trail for us to follow. Data minimizes the guesswork and the mystery of this topic. We just have to tap into it.
  2. Three of the five panelists spoke from the perspective of their own data, which they tap into, to the ultimate benefit of the consumer: Heini Zachariassen of Vivino, Lara Crystal of Minibar Delivery, and Jacob Moynihan of Merchant23.
  3. If we see the wine consumer as a puzzle, we can envision each of these data sources as a piece of the puzzle with its own unique shape. The more puzzle pieces we have, and the more of them that we put together, the more accurate the picture of the consumer is going to be.
  4. That being said, data is not a panacea. It is very powerful, but it is not a cure-all. It needs to be complemented -- it will always need to be complemented -- by human experience and input. That's where our other two panelists weighed in: Pascaline Lepeltier MS of Racine's NY and Valerie Gerard-Matsuura of Sopexa, whose deep experience in wine, and with this demographic in particular, prove to be exceptionally valuable.

Isn't it time for you to take some guesswork out of your interaction with wine consumers, whether they're millennials, on ecommerce platforms, or otherwise?

There's a world of data out there to make that happen. We can help.

Please let me know your thoughts and questions, and thank you as always for reading.

Cathy Huyghe, Co-Founder of Enolytics

Phone: +1.702.528.3717 | |

Wine Data Case Study: Minibar Delivery and Retailers

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Image above: Snapshot of Minibar Delivery's past 100,000 orders in the New York City area, zooming in on Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Beverage alcohol delivery.

It's on every short list of hot topics in our industry, and for good reason. It's the perfect storm of convenience and immediate gratification, not to mention its popularity among millennial consumers of wine, beer and spirits.

Personally, I'm interested in its data.

Specifically for Enolytics, we're interested in what alcohol delivery services can tell us about buying trends and purchasing patterns in major metropolitan markets, particularly among an audience that skews younger.

I interviewed Lara Crystal on this topic, co-founder and co-CEO of Minibar Delivery, which is available in more than 40 cities across the U.S. We actually dug a little deeper too, to see how Minibar interfaces with retailers in those 40+ cities. Here's our Q&A.

[Sidebar: Lara is one of the panelists on the session I'm moderating this Tuesday at Vinexpo New York, on the topic of Millennials' Purchasing Power and the Rise of eCommerce, featuring Heini Zachariassen of Vivino, Jacob Moynihan of Merchant23, Valerie Gerard-Matsuura of Sopexa, and Pascaline Lepeltier MS of Racines NYC.]

ENO: How does Minibar Delivery work with fine wine retailers?

LC: Minibar Delivery works with fine wine retailers in a number of ways. We partner with retailers across the country for on-demand deliveries in 40 markets, and we recently launched a new service called Vineyard Select, which allows customers to purchase wines directly from independent vineyards for shipping to their doors in three to five business days.

How does Minibar Delivery’s data help retailers sell more wine?

Minibar Delivery offers our fine wine retail partners (and all our retail partners) access to real-time data from across the country, from both a consumer perspective and a retailer perspective. We can help retailers by identifying assortment gaps, pricing variations, and provide them with a list of top products that like-retailers are selling that they are not carrying. For example, if a retailer’s assortment is missing $15-$20 chardonnays, we can help them identify that miss.

And of course, we can provide a deep look at when consumers are purchasing, what they’re purchasing, etc, and are able to develop a full picture of the customer profile based on purchase behavior. That can be shared with our retail partners so they can get a fuller understanding of who is purchasing, and what they are purchasing, so the retailers can then tailor their inventory accordingly.

What is the best way for retailers to maximize their interaction with Minibar Delivery?

There are a number of ways in which retailers can maximize their interaction with Minibar Delivery. As we discussed above, we’re a great resource for sales data that can be used to make smarter inventory decisions based on customer purchases and behaviors. Our independent retail partners rely on our data to help them further understand their customer and ensure their inventory fits the customer profile. Our data shows purchasing trends - for example, is the rosé craze staying around longer for fall and winter? Are pinot noir drinkers also likely to purchase chardonnay? Is 7 PM on a Wednesday prime time for on-demand deliveries?

Secondly, we recommend that our retail partners provide in-store and offline promotion/communication to ensure their existing customers know they are able to order online from their store through Minibar Delivery. Retailers who have joined our platform have seen an increase in revenue and average order size; some have seen their revenue increase by 60% since joining our platform. The more people use Minibar Delivery, the more data we can provide to our retailers so they can better understand their customer base.


Ready to take the first step? We can help, on this front specifically and in relation to other data sources that also provide value to you.

I look forward, as always, to your responses, comments and questions.

And please do let me know if you'll be in New York next week for the launch of Vinexpo in the U.S. I'd love to connect IRL, and I hope you'll attend the panel. It promises to be very interesting for anyone interested in wine, data, and the evolving status of alcohol purchasing and delivery.

Thank you for reading.

3 Reasons Why Big Data Matters To You


About 80%.

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

Does that come as a surprise?

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

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

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

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

Here are three reasons why.

It’s Hyperlocal

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

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

The Big Data World is Getting Smaller

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

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

The Tipping Point of Questions

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

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

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

Do you see the difference?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To which we say, Word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Announcing Enolytics Spain


Enolytics LLC is pleased to announce the company’s first overseas partnership, Enolytics Spain.

“We are impressed by the initiative and ideation shown by Andrés Bonet-Merten and his colleagues, Gregorio Bustos Serrano and Scott Hingley,” said Cathy Huyghe, co-founder and CEO of Enolytics. “They share our belief in the power of data to deliver insights and intelligence that ultimately benefit wine consumers around the world. We’re looking forward very much to expanding and localizing that mission through Enolytics Spain.”

Founded in 2016, Enolytics has innovated market research for the wine industry by building a network of data partners whose platforms record consumer interactions and behavior around wine. Enolytics’ team of data scientists aggregates raw data from a mix of those partners, each of whom is chosen for their unique value in addressing the clients’ challenges.

Bonet-Merten feels that “using advanced data analytics to look at wine consumers is a great way to introduce technology into the traditional world of wine marketing. We are excited to use Enolytics services to help our customers in Spain find new ways to sell wine around the world."

The intention of Enolytics Spain is to “translate” the Enolytics model for the Spanish market, so that it is responsive to the needs of wineries and organizations in Spain. Though the ultimate mission of serving wine consumers is the same in every country, Enolytics Spain localizes the process to the specific nuances of the wine culture in that region.

“Enolytics’ unique way of looking at markets based on data analytics is valuable to winemakers and sellers anywhere in the world,” said Gregorio Bustos. “We are certain that producers in Spain, the third most important wine exporter in the world, will benefit from Enolytics’ services in order to get a better return on their marketing investment."

For more information please visit or contact:  


tel. +34 601 35 10 24

Thank you.

Cathy Huyghe, Co-Founder of Enolytics

Phone: +1.702.528.3717 | |

Wine Data, Interrupted. And a Secret.


These past few weeks we’ve been focusing on case studies and how to visualize wine data. I sincerely appreciate your positive feedback to those, and I’m looking forward to sharing more in the weeks to come.

Today, let’s take a short breather and zoom out for a moment to the big picture of data.

It also involves telling you a bit of a secret.

The ace up Enolytics’ sleeve is, undoubtedly, our team of data scientists and analysts. My mind is blown by their skills, creativity and careful treatment of the data that we work with.

Here’s the secret: They are not wine people.

Their 50+ years of combined experience have been mainly in the healthcare space, and the work they do with wine data is integrally informed by their work in healthcare.

In other words, their skills transfer. They quickly learned the logic and flows of the industry, so they could easily frame the data in the right context.

If these skills are useful for healthcare and for wine, what else can they be used for?

That’s the question for today, and here’s part of the answer: Shortly after we launched Enolytics, with our focus on the wine industry, I was asked whether we plan to also work with data from the spirits category.

Our CTO’s response?

“Of course. Data is data.”

I was asked a similar question recently, this time on whether we planned to also work with data from the cannabis industry.


Extending our work to also include spirits is something we could have anticipated. But cannabis?


“It sounds like Enolytics is doing similar things for the wine industry that my firm is doing for cannabis,” I read in a LinkedIn message, which also noted the growing connection between the alcohol industry and cannabis.

It’s a good point, and one worth exploring.

Data is data, and it’s informing the direction of businesses in many categories.

Like wine.

How can we put our skills to use for you? We're open to ideas, especially those that make us go, Hmm.

I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks.

How to Visualize Your Brand's Share of Consumer Interest Over Time


First, thanks.

Thank you for your very positive feedback to last week’s post about how to visualize wine consumer data. Yes, we agree that it helps to see practical examples of this work, in order to envision how you could apply it to your own winery, brand, or organization.

It seemed to turn on some lightbulbs. So let’s keep going.

This week we’d like to show you how your brand’s share of consumer interest can be measured over time.

The picture above is another screenshot from an interactive dashboard we built for a client, who wanted to benchmark their position in the market in the eyes of consumers.

They wanted to know where they stand now – a baseline, so to speak – so that they can measure improvement moving forward.

So we did, using hundreds of thousands of data records about their brand and their competitors who have similar styles and price points.

We showed them what the data says about their performance now, and then we zoomed out a bit and showed them what the data also says about how their performance has evolved over time.

The picture above is an illustration of consumer interest in their brand over the past four years. It told our client several things. On the plus side, for example, there was a big jump in share of interest between 2014 and 2015. Which is great. It’s up again for the past two years, but seems to have plateaued. Which is not so great.

Just like last week’s picture, this illustration is another slice of a larger, comprehensive analysis. Last week we looked at brand performance geographically. This week it’s brand performance over time. Next week we could put the two together, and look at brand performance in specific markets for the past three years.

And etc.

The point is that we’re adding the “outside” consumer perspective to the client’s own internal knowledge of their sales and distribution.

It adds up to that benchmark they’re after, so that they can see the way forward and up.

Does that make sense?

If not, please let me know. We want to clarify.

If you’d like to know more about how we can do this work for you, please be in touch.

Thank you.

How to Visualize Wine Consumer Data


Let me show you a picture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They said, "Cool."

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

And on it went.

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

Can we help you with that too?

Please let us know.

Thank you.

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.