A few years ago, wine professionals began to talk about ‘wine o’clock’ – the time of day when a significant number of people pull a cork or unscrew a cap and pour themselves a glass. For Forbes online contributor Cathy Huyghe and her Belgian husband Chris, the focus of interest lay in not only the position of the hands on the clock, but what people were drinking, and where. Could they create a business out of gathering this information and supplying it to wine producers and regions? From that starting point, Enolytics, the company they launched, has expanded to become a full-service consultancy and supplier of data to the wine industry.
Describing her business, Huyghe says: “If you think about the wine consumer as a puzzle, then the more differently shaped puzzle pieces we can add, then the clearer the picture of the consumer becomes.” So Enolytics works with Vivino, which she says is “the most-requested data partner we use” and has 31m everyday consumers worldwide. “It’s literally your everyday Jane and Joe, all over the world.” The company also uses data from US delivery service Minibar, and 3x3 Insights, which tracks wine sales at independent retailers, plus the US census. Throughout, the aim is to combine clients’ own market insights with the ones Enolytics produces in order to provide a three-dimensional picture.
At the heart of the service, which combines data covering purchases opinions, locations and time, lies the notion of telling producers who is buying and drinking their wine, where, when, and what they think of it.
One such customer is Giampiero Bertolino, marketing and sales director of fine Tuscan winemaker Frescobaldi. “Today in the wine business, especially in the Old World, we are much more focused on trade (our primary contact) than the end consumer. This obviously brings us to conclusions which are not corresponding with reality.” Bertolino continues, “We strongly believe that consumer opinion is absolutely relevant if we are to make a step change against the competition. That is the basic principle behind our collaboration with Enolytics.”
Using Enolytics’ big data across a number of countries enabled Frescobaldi to understand “much more about the relevant markets” and gave the company “solid data to share with partners around the world, which obviously put some pressure on them to be more on top of the business”.
Wine industry analytics is becoming an increasingly competitive sector, as producers and distributors discover the value of understanding how their wines fit into the landscape, but it remains a niche activity. Which is why firms like Huyghe’s focus so much of their attention on engaging with as many members of the industry as possible through social media posts and discussions.