Magic, Step One and Magic, Step Two: Piecing Together the Puzzle of Wine + Data

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Think of putting together a puzzle.

First you need multiple pieces, each with their own shape and contour.

Then you start experimenting with how they fit together. Some are bigger, some are smaller. Some have straight edges, some are right smack in the middle of things.

One by one, and after some trial and error, you nestle the pieces together, using visual “clues” like color and imagery to see and feel what works best.

Eventually it comes together, and the final picture emerges into full view.

That’s exactly how it’s felt this week here at Enolytics, as we’ve been preparing for two conferences next week: the British Columbia Wine Industry Insight Conference on Tuesday in Penticton, and the International Institute for Analytics Conference on Wednesday in Portland, Oregon.

We thought of the presentation as a puzzle, one that would be of interest to the different audiences: “wine people” in BC, and “data people” in Portland.

We needed multiple pieces of the puzzle, so we reached out to our ecosystem of data partners and asked for their own, uniquely shaped and contoured “data pieces” that are relevant to BC and Oregon wine.

Some of those pieces are bigger, some are smaller. Some form the boundaries of the puzzle, and some are right smack in the middle of things.

This was the Magic, Step One: the willingness of data partners to pull specific, relevant data and add it to our puzzle. Getting to know the contours of these different data sets, and the different personalities of their owners, has been fascinating.

One by one, and by using “clues” like shared points of commonality, we’ve been working to nestle the pieces together.

That was the Magic, Step Two: the seams where different data pieces meet, and seeing the bigger picture evolve when multiple sets of data merge, side by side.

I can’t wait to present this process, and these steps, and the end results. In the meantime, I am deeply grateful to our partners who support the vision, who continue doing what they do, who keep shaping their own pieces of the puzzle.

It adds up to something special.

Will you be attending either of those conferences next week? Or Prowein in Düsseldorf, next weekend? Please let me know. I’d be psyched to connect IRL.

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

The Head Tilt Question, When It’s More DATA than Wine

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When Enolytics is recognized by colleagues or media in the wine industry for what we do, it’s always a boost both commercially and emotionally.

When we’re recognized for what we do by people outside the wine industry, however, it’s always a little bit of a head tilt sideways.

As in, “Hmm. Now that’s interesting.”

That’s what’s happening this month, as I look ahead to travel and conference presentations where we have the opportunity to share our work with colleagues within the industry, and outside of it as well.

The biggest surprise of the itinerary, for this month and later this year as well, are invitations that arrived from the analytics and data community. They aren’t wine people, but they’re curious about how we’re using “their” expertise and applying it to wine.

It’s a little bit of a head tilt of their own.

(Which I love.)

Here are three such opportunities this month alone. The middle one, in British Columbia, aligns most directly with what we do. The other two tilt a little sideways, in the best ways.

*****

WHAT: Wonder Women of Wine Conference

WHERE: Austin, Texas

WHEN: March 2 and 3

WHY: I’ve been asked to join the “Ready for Liftoff” panel about women entrepreneurs in the industry, alongside Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & Francois Selections, Mary Derby of DAMA Wines, Julia Dixon of The Gravity Imports, and Amy Bess Cook of WOW Sonoma.

TAKEAWAY: There’s a lot of hype around the statistics of venture capital for women (paltry) and the multiplicity of challenges for female founders (mostly spot-on). Yet women entrepreneurs, and tech-focused entrepreneurs, are making it happen in the wine industry regardless.

 *****

WHAT: British Columbia Wine Industry Insight Conference

WHERE: Penticton, British Columbia

WHEN: March 12

WHY: How can the BC wine industry can benefit from big data? That’s the question they’re asking in the Okanagan Valley. I’ll be thrilled to share some thoughts on a response, and revisit a region I previously enjoyed tremendously.

TAKEAWAY: A major theme in my presentation is to shine the spotlight on a variety of data partners and platforms within our ecosystem, who the BC wine community can tap in to. The more pieces of the data puzzle we can put together, the more comprehensive and beneficial the picture becomes. In the BC region, that is, and as a model for others.

*****

WHAT: International Institute for Analytics Conference

WHERE: Portland, Oregon

WHEN: March 13

WHY: The title of the session says it all, I think. “Uncorking Analytics: Moving the Wine Industry Towards Data-Driven Decisions.” Yes, it’s the last session of the day and yes, wine will be poured. But the audience? Data people, inside and out, who spend their working lives thinking about analytics and visualizations.

SPECIAL NOTE: The day before, the Institute has scheduled a Women in Analytics Networking happy hour. Sign me up.

*****

Any chance you’re going to be attending any of these events? Please let me know. I’d be psyched to talk IRL.

Thank you for reading, as always —

Cathy

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

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What does data + wine mean to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support –

Cathy and Andrés


Invitación gratuita al webinar de Enolytics Spain:

Perspectiva internacional sobre Big Data + Vino

¿Qué significado tiene para ti Big Data + Vino?

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

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

Esta semana en particular enfocaremos el acento español.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gracias por vuestro continuo interés y apoyo –

Cathy y Andrés

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, as always, for reading –

Cathy

Depletion Data Case Study: Insights from Within the Winery Itself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s take them one at a time.

Using the Data You Already Have

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

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

That’s the foundation.

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

Using Depletion Data Specifically

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

Here are four things to notice:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does that make sense?

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

Thank you for reading, as always –

Cathy

This Was One of the Hardest Things I’ve Ever Done. Here’s Why It Was Worth It. (Probably.)

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Not gonna lie.

It was tough.

Catching and holding the attention of 45 students at a time, last week in Bordeaux, as part of an MBA program in wine business. My commitment was for nine hours with one group of 45 students and then to repeat those nine hours, back to back, for another 45 students.

I tried. My goodness, I tried. And I did not always succeed.

Not gonna lie about that either.

But I’m writing about it today as a follow up to an Enolytics 101 post a few weeks ago about “gifting” these students, and other wine business students I’ll teach this year, with a year’s worth of access to a very powerful data visualization platform called Qlik.

How did that go?

It caught their interest. Which, as I wrote above, was really hard to do. But this did. I wanted to share a few reasons why, because I think they say a lot about the next generation of wine business professionals. Specifically, I think these reasons speak to both the promises and the challenges that these people face as they step into their roles at wine businesses around the world.

Here goes, in terms of what caught students’ interest about the data visualization module of the class:

  • They have a chance to do something that other people in their companies don’t know how to do. They can learn a tool that adds unique value. And they can learn it for free.

  • The European Union itself has already bought into big data for the wine industry, namely by funding a project called Big Data Grapes that’s part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. (Sidebar: My talking about this project raised eyebrows. Literally. The students were surprised in part, I think, because the funding of the project “brought it home” to their own backyards. I wasn’t up there talking about something that was happening in some far-off hub of technology that has no bearing on the lives and the world that’s most familiar to them. This was real, it’s within reach, and it could impact them directly.)

  • Innovation in wine business can have social impact too, whether the innovation impacts communities in crises or small, family-run businesses or the under-representation of women in the industry.

  • 90% of all information is consumed visually. 70% of all sensory receptors are in the eyes. And 30% of the brain’s processing power is dedicated to sight.

Is it easy to catch and hold the interest of young professionals in the wine business? Nope. But if you can, and when you do, their imaginations take off.

Watching that happen comes close – real close – to compensating for how exhausting the efforts are in the first place.

Can you relate to what I’m talking about here? Have you had similar experiences? I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

Cathy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Chris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I expect to do that?

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

How do students benefit from this? They will have:

  • Access to the software

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

  • The opportunity to earn a Qlik Sense Qualification

  • Access to a community forum and customer support

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

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

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

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

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

So what’s the bottom line here?

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, also as always, for reading.

Case Study for Wine + Data: How It Actually Works

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“We already have lots of our own data. The problem is that we don’t really know what to do with it, or how to interpret what it says. So how can we use data to move our business forward?”

That’s the refrain, time and again, that we’ve been hearing lately, particularly in the last six months of 2018. Sometimes it’s operational data, sometimes it’s DTC data, sometimes it’s viticultural data. The common denominator is that the data’s going unused.

Maybe you can relate. You’ve been in business awhile, you know you’ve been accumulating data about your business, but how do you transition from HAVING the data to USING the data?

This week I’d like to shine the spotlight on the process, to illustrate in detail how this actually looks in practice. The steps below reflect our work with small to midsize wineries, though the process is similar for larger projects as well.

1. Make the decision to share the data outside your own walls.

You’ve worked incredibly hard for your data, especially if we’re talking about customer lists and sales records. We respect that, deeply. That’s why we have protocols in place to keep your data safe, and why we’re contractually forbidden from using the data without your consent for any reason other than your specific project.

Still, it’s a mental shift that needs to happen on your side first.

2. Send us a sample file of the data you want to maximize.

Typically we receive data in spreadsheet format, as Excel or csv files. Send us a sample file – 100 lines, say – that’s characteristic of what you’re looking at on a day-to-day basis. Make it relevant to your bottom line. Make it relevant to the questions you want answered. Let it reflect the areas of your business that you think you can maximize for performance.

We’ll have questions, undoubtedly, about what you send. We’ll come back to you for clarifications, especially around the KPIs that you want to track. And we’ll explain what we think is possible given the parameters of what you’ve sent.

3. Give us time to massage the data.

If or when we decide to move forward, and after you send more complete files, we’ll need some time to work with it. Usually this means “massaging” or “transforming the data,” which is an analytics term that means cleaning and standardizing it into a regular format. Then we package it and visualize it through an interactive dashboard that is built around the KPIs that you’ve designated.

4. Visualize.

The more people I talk to about their data, the more convinced I am that visualizing it is a key step in this process.

When most people think “data,” they think numbers and spreadsheets. When I think data in terms of Enolytics, I think images and visualizations.

The image at the top of this post is an example. We’re working with a winery now who went through steps one to three; it’s step four, however, where the data comes to life.

We built a dashboard using their sales data (anonymized here, of course) and the scatter chart you see is one of the ways we can visualize all those numbers in all those spreadsheets. What you see is sales volume plotted along the bottom, revenue along the left side, and wine names along the right side. The size of the bubble represents the price of the wine.

First thing to notice? This is a lot easier to read than a spreadsheet of numbers.

Second thing? This image happens to show two years worth of sales data. We could easily and dynamically narrow what’s visualized to just October-November-December, say, or to just red wines or etc.

Third thing? The top half of the graph and in particular the top right quadrant of the graph is where you’d like all your wines to be. What about that cluster of wines in the bottom left, then? They are unpopular and don’t generate much revenue, which means you have some decisions to make.

Maybe you consider dropping those wines from your portfolio and focusing instead on the wines in the upper right quadrant. Maybe you experiment with a shipment of those wines to your club members, and track popularity and re-orders. Maybe those are the wines that need more of your marketing attention. Or etc.

The point is that this is what you can do with the data you already have. Visualizing it is an important step in interpreting it, so that you can actually use the data to move your business forward.

Does that make sense?

Please let me know. We’d love your thoughts, and to hear how this strikes you.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

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

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

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

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

  • What are my Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

  • How do I create a scorecard?

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

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

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

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

  • Make the data clean and dependable.

  • Visualize your data.

  • Understand what it’s telling you.

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Chris

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

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

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

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

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

Big data is, actually, small.

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

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

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

That’s what happened most of all.

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

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

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

Thank you for that. Truly. 

You are the reason we're here.

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

Sincerely,

Cathy

What's Ahead for Spanish Wine + Data: Perspectives on Innovation, from Madrid [Bilingual Edition]

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This week I’ve asked Andrés Bonet Merten, our lead in Madrid for Enolytics Spain, to offer his perspective on the year in wine + data for that international market. Andrés has been working tirelessly to advocate for the use and benefits of data-driven insights, originating both within a wine business’ own operations and “without,” that is, everyday consumer behavior and sentiment around the business’ wines.

An obvious benefit of having a local market presence for Enolytics is being able to communicate our work in the local language. A second benefit is a more nuanced perspective of the market. Yes, wine + data in Spain is still wine + data, but with a Spanish accent.

Here is Andrés’ perspective on how that looks and sounds, now and for the future, summarized in eight concise takeaways.

  1. The transformation of wineries will need multicultural and diverse teams, and their common language will be programming.

  2. Here in Spain new young oenologists are raising expectations of Spanish wine, and the industry is vibrant and growing at high levels. Some very clear minded wineries are starting big data projects in vineyards, and market intelligence consultants are busy signing new clients.

  3. Technology will soon cover 100% of Spain’s vineyards and robots will do most of the field work in the near future. AI will change people’s lives and the wine business of Spain – even if most of the wine industry is still getting used to thinking about data or analytics.

  4. Spain will have a great viticultural future due to traditional Spain’s mix of research and creativity. Just as the former President of Google Spain, Isabel Aguilera, said that “going against automatization or against the new technologies is absurd, this is the way it will go,” the future of Spain’s wineries will also have to go that way too.

  5. Wine in the future is a “hybrid” wine. The experience of drinking wine will be enhanced by a hybridization of wine and data-driven technology designed to enhance the experience.

  6. The good enough wine has to die before an extraordinary wine can be born. The wine industry has to overcome “what is” and adopt “what might be.” Connectivity will deliver disruption in wine tasting and consumers will value not only quality but also sustained growth, environmental assessment, ethical sourcing, production and commerce in a holistic business market.

  7. The “new Spanish wineries” will need to manage the ambiguity of going local and going global at the time, while using logical thinking and emotions at the same time. They will develop and retain talent and customers, and they will cooperate rather than compete, creating a stronger business culture overall.

  8. The leader of the winery will need to transform the company from inside to outside, first creating new departments fueled by innovative technology that afterwards spreads into all the areas of the winery. The challenges of the future are already here.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

* * * * *

Esta semana he preguntado a Andrés Bonet Merten, nuestro contacto en Madrid en Enolytics Spain, si nos podía dar una visión de futuro sobre vino + datos en ese mercado internacional. Andrés ha estado trabajando sin descanso abogando por el uso y beneficio de los análisis realizados con big data de las operaciones propias de bodegas y de los comportamientos y percepciones de los consumidores de vino.

La ventaja clara de poseer esta presencia en el mercado local español, es sin duda poder comunicar nuestro trabajo perfectamente en su lengua local. Una segunda ventaja es una percepción más fina de este mercado. Sí, vino + datos en España siguen siendo vino + datos, pero con acento español.

A continuación muestro la perspectiva que dibuja Andrés sobre cómo pinta y suena ésto, ahora y en el futuro, resumido en ocho breves propuestas.

  1. La transformación de las bodegas necesitará de equipos multiculturales y multidisciplinares; su lenguaje común será la programación.

  2. Jóvenes enólogos españoles crearán grandes expectativas sobre el vino español y la industria del vino seguirá en plena forma y creciendo a ritmo fuerte. Algunas bodegas preclaras más comenzarán con proyectos de recogida de datos en sus viñedos y consultores de inteligencia de mercado seguirán activos desarrollando nuevos clientes.

  3. La tecnología va a cubrir en breve espacio de tiempo los viñedos españoles y robots harán gran parte del trabajo de campo en un futuro no tan lejano. La inteligencia artificial va a cambiar la vida de la gente como también la de las bodegas – incluso aún cuando la mayor parte de la industria del vino aún se está acostumbrando a pensar sobre la existencia de los datos y su análisis.

  4. España va a tener un futuro vitivinícola excepcional gracias a la tradicional conjunción de investigación y desarrollo con su creatividad. Tal y cómo dijo Isabel Aguilera, la ex Directora General de Google España, “ir en contra de la automatización o de las nuevas tecnologías es absurdo… va a ser así”, y en el futuro las bodegas irán por ese mismo camino también.

  5. El vino en el futuro va a ser un “vino híbrido”. La experiencia de beber vino va a ser potenciada y transformada por una hibridación de vino con una tecnología alimentada por datos diseñada a tal efecto.

  6. El vino “suficientemente bueno” va a tener que morir para que nazca el vino “extraordinario”. La industria del vino ha de superar “lo que es” para adoptar “lo que podría ser”. La conectividad nos ofrecerá la disrupción entorno al consumo de vino y los consumidores de vino no solo valorarán la calidad, sino también el desarrollo sostenible, la evaluación medioambiental, el aprovisionamiento, producción y comercialización bajo parámetros éticos en un mercado del vino holístico con múltiples interacciones.

  7. Las “nuevas bodegas españolas” van a tener que gestionar la ambigüedad de desarrollarse localmente como internacionalmente a la vez, la de utilizar la lógica y las emociones conjuntamente. Van a tener que adquirir y retener talento y clientes a la vez, cooperando más que compitiendo y desarrollando una cultura de empresa más sólida adoptada por toda la organización.

  8. El líder de la bodega va a tener que transformar la compañía desde dentro hacia fuera, creando primero nuevos departamentos impulsados por una tecnología innovadora que posteriormente se extenderá a todas las áreas de la bodega. Pero éstos retos para el futuro ya han llegado, y han llegado para quedarse.

Gracias, como siempre, por vuestra lectura.

Enolytics in the Global Press, with Our Gratitude

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

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

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

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

What do they all have in common?

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

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

***

Outlet: Meininger’s Wine Business International

Location: Germany

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

  • Growth and evolution of the business idea

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

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

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

***

Outlet: Global Africa Network

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

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

  • Meeting consumers where they are

  • Qualitative and quantitative data analyses are complementary to each other

  • Benefits of aggregating multiple sources

  • Consumer experience is about emotion, not function

***

Outlet: Hypepotamus

Location: Atlanta

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

  • Identifying the market opportunity for Enolytics

  • Expansion of the concept to Enolytics Spain

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

  • The rationale for turning down offers of investment

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

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

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

Thank you, as always, for reading.

Cathy

The Cultural Code of Data for Wine, All Around the World

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How many frequent flier miles does it take to do data + wine?

That’s a rhetorical question (obviously) but one that’s crossed my mind a few times these past months. I love to travel and recently my journeys have involved speaking with wineries and organizations about their data.

What I’ve noticed is how closely their questions about data reflect the more global questions and concerns that are currently impacting their commercial interests.

It’s an alignment of micro and macro if there ever was one.

This week I’d like to take a moment to share a sampling of the questions we’re hearing from all around the world, along with the bigger-issue "why" concerns that go along with them.

Chile

Data Question: Behavior and sentiment patterns of consumers in Asia

Why: China and Japan have quickly emerged as priority markets for Chilean producers, thanks in no small part to favorable trade agreements negotiated by their government.

South Africa

Data Question: Viticultural, particularly around the terroirs of their older vines

Why: Interest in South African old vines has been surging as awareness of their unique history and value becomes better studied and understood.

California

Data Question: Packaging and visualizing the DTC data that wineries already have

Why: Profit margins are higher when wine is sold DTC.

México

Data Question: County-specific consumption and sentiment patterns, especially of their own wines in relation to foreign wines

Why: Renewed interest in the domestic market, and refreshed pride of ownership of domestic wineries.

Spain and the US

Data Question: Consumption and sentiment patterns around spirits and craft beer, respectively

Why: Data is data, and consumers are consumers. The way we work with wine data is transferrable to the way we work with spirits and beer data as well.

It’s an incredibly exciting moment. As I’ve written before, Enolytics now is not what we thought Enolytics would be, even six months ago. That’s because the conversation keeps evolving, as we continue to build out proofs of concept that demonstrate the value of working with data.

It’s also because this community has IDEAS. Lots of them.

Thank you for that.

Please let me know if something here strikes a chord and you’d like to talk. I’m listening.

— Cathy

PS To everyone in the US who will be celebrating the holiday next week, Happy Thanksgiving! We'll see you back here in two weeks, on Friday, November 30, for the last few posts of 2018.

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

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

What makes them so special?

Two things.

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

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

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

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

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

That has an okay chance of working.

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

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

Does that make sense?

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

So what are the parallels to wine?

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

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

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

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

Thank you, as always, for reading.

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

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Millennials.

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

They’ve got ideas.

They’ve got fresh perspective.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Asked for Your Help, and Here’s What Happened: A "Scarily Accurate" Recap from Cape Town, South Africa

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I felt a little bit like a carrier pigeon.

Standing in front of the audience, that is, at the Business of Wine and Food Tourism Conference in South Africa last week, held at Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch. I was honored to deliver the keynote, where I focused on two things: how we can use data to improve tourism in wine and food, and learnings from last year’s California wildfires, particularly in Sonoma.

This community — you — responded with an outpouring of suggestions, so much so that I felt like that carrier pigeon, full of information, flying across hemispheres.

Shout outs here (and there!) to Honore Comfort of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, Sandra Hess of DTC Wine Workshops, Michael Longerbeam and Sara Rathbun at Dry Creek Vineyard, David Gluzman at the Global Wine Database, and the team at 3x3 Insights in New York.

Thank you.

Mainly I spoke about data, and how our work at Enolytics — bolstered by our ecosystem of data partners — can be useful for increasing business in the areas of wine and food tourism. I’d like to focus this week on one very significant takeaway that I heard in response to the presentation, immediately afterward and in the time since.

“There’s a big gap between data and how to use it.”

We all have data. Actually, we have tons and tons of data. But, as a delegate from the audience admitted, he never looks at it. It’s just spreadsheets that he receives day in and day out. There’s no interpretation or “translation” or application to the work that’s in front of him to do.

That’s the gap, and it’s a big problem when data is just numbers. What does it mean? More importantly, what does it mean for you, and your work, and achieving the goals that you are working toward?

Answering those questions is what we do.

We interpret it in a way that, as another delegate and winemaker tweeted, is “scarily accurate” for the reality of wine.

Could you use some help on this front? Do you have data that you know is valuable in some way, but are having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees?

That’s what we do, and we’re here to help. Drop me a line anytime, at cathy@enolytics.com or +1.702.528.3717.

I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you as always for reading —

Cathy

What Does Derek Jeter Have to Do with Data for Wine? A Lot More Than You’d Think.

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Do you know about The Player’s Tribune?

Founded by retired Yankee Derek Jeter, The Player’s Tribune delivers daily sports conversation and publishes first-person stories directly from athletes.

Cool, right?

I’m fascinated by this idea. Partly that’s because I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I love “sports talk” and reading stories by athletes who give voice to their own experiences. And partly I love Player’s Trib because the whole model turns journalism on its head, and puts the responsibility of storytelling in the hands of the very people whose story it is to tell.

Straight from the source, so to speak.

This week we’re taking inspiration from Jeter and introducing a new series within Enolytics 101: The stories of data in the wine world, told by the people who actually live it.

The idea is to shine a light on people in roles that often go unrecognized. Too grow awareness of this work. To widen the conversation. To expand understanding that “data” can be valued, “user-friendly” and doable, by people just like you and me.

Today we’ve lined up the first installment of the series, featuring Randy Browne, Business Analytics & Insights Lead at C. Mondavi & Family.

What’s below comes straight from the source. In his own words. By someone just like you and me.

[Emphasis in italics are mine.]

How did you learn about data? How did you get comfortable with it, as something you “do” as part of your everyday job? 

One of my very first careers out of undergrad was working for an advertising research firm. The firm was one of the pioneers of the “science behind advertising” and we did research upon research to help prove out what makes “good” advertising. I spent seven years there and worked with a lot of d\smart, driven, and data-centric people. The culture of the company inspired you to prove out hypotheses, both yours and your clients’, and to ultimately utilize research findings to drive the brand and advertising strategy of our clients’ products and services. If you weren’t comfortable using data to help make recommendations and decisions to clients, you weren’t of much value to the client or the firm. I’ve taken that data-centric mindset with me to every job I’ve had since, and have made a career out of using data, analytics, and consumer research to help drive the growth of the companies I’ve worked for or worked with. 

What value does working with data add to your role on a day-to-day basis?  

Today’s decision-making process across any organization needs to be engrained with data. The “data voice” should have a seat at the table when it comes to all key strategic decisions of the business. At C. Mondavi & Family, my team works with data each day to help our internal clients (Sales, Marketing, National Accounts, Finance, Executives, Supply Chain) understand their business in greater detail. The value that data brings is enormous…but you can also get paralyzed with too much data. Having people and tools that help you and your team focus on the “right” data is key. That takes time to develop, but just like anything else, the more time you spend with data, the more muscle memory is formed, and you and your team learn what to focus on. You become much better trained on the ability to help solve pain points and uncover opportunities for the business

What’s the biggest challenge you face, when it comes to data in the wine world?  

Once you get beyond the four big players in the wine industry, the acceptance, usage, and understanding of data and analytics is hit or miss. The wine industry is behind other Beverage Alcohol industries like Beer and Spirits in their usage of data and analytics, let alone other CPG industries (and well behind Tech, Pharma, Consumer Services, etc.).  If you want to get a true understanding on how data-centric organizations are run, you’ll need to also look outside of the wine industry.

With that being said, there definitely are wine companies that are more forward-thinking in their usage of data and data has become part of their overall DNA.  Whereas, there are other wine companies that haven’t embraced data as much as they should and are still relying on relationships with retailers and distributor partners to guide their business. That doesn’t work anymore. You need to take control of where you want your business to go. Retailers are consolidating the number of SKUs in their stores, especially those SKUs / shelf space that aren’t delivering the ROI needed to keep it on the shelf. Relationships can help you keep your product there for a few extra months, but ultimately, how is your product / brand going to outperform the other 1000+ SKU’s on the shelf or 100+ other wines on the wine list, or even whether your tasting room delivers a superior experience vs the many other choices consumers have? What’s the story you want to tell? How are you different?  What makes you unique and a “must have”? Data can help with this and should be an essential part of the story you tell your retailer / distributor partners, as well as your consumers. Analytic-based data tools and a sales force / support staff / company that understands the need for data and uses it to their advantage will be much farther along the data and analytics ladder than those that don’t. Moving from descriptive analytics (the what) to predictive analytics (the so what and now what) can be a game changer for wine companies. BUT, it takes resources, i.e. $’s to invest in tools and the right type of skill set (people) to bring this type of competitive advantage to the forefront. 

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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