By Roger Noujeim August 11, 2017 Comments Off on Wine Sensory Data Vs. Sales Data – Why Hindsight Can Be Dangerous


Big data, small data, analytics, data visualization, analysis, data scientist, sensory data analysis and other related scientific terms are now coming at the wine executive at speeds and frequency not many have expected.

Irrespective of what industry one might be in, many or most of these terms are still foreign to most.

But it really doesn’t take much to get it.

The problem however is that not every wine executive is currently prepared to invest time and resources to truly dive into the data opportunity. At least not until the benefits become obvious, especially in an industry that has long relied on winemaker expertise and company leadership teams to drive new products and decisions.

Consumer product giants like P&G, J&J, Coke and others have for long relied on research and data to help ensure that decisions are well substantiated and reinforced. These companies have honed their research and data skills and processes, over time. They built massive databases, invested in staff knowledge and tools, and introduced exacting operational flows to capitalize on data.

What the wine industry can learn from such organizations, is that data-driven decision making is critical to long term growth and success. That budgets must be allocated towards data capture, management and analysis. Staff need to be educated on the right ways to use data and analytics software to support business decisions. That data is a key part of the executive’s life at work, not an occasional event.

Granted, many wine companies invest in past sales data reports. Some on a monthly basis. These reports are expensive, but for good reason. That’s because of the value the information they offer. Used properly, data is in fact inexpensive, relative to the impact it can have on a company’s bottom line.

That’s why leading wine companies like E. & J. Gallo, Constellation Brands, Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits and other industry leaders might choose to invest heavily in not only sales data, but also consumer behaviour and sensory research and data.


Any good data is better than no data. But, when it comes to a subject that is as complex and personal as wine, sales data inherently caps what an astute executive can rely on it for.

Because past sales is not a clear indicator of future purchase intent, makes the data useful for certain things and not for others.

Identifying or confirming a real trend that you can capitalize on ahead of your competitors, is one area sales data can mislead the executive in. Or, whether a specific demographic group is likely to purchase that new wine type you recently placed a huge order for. And if a certain Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Siegerrebe will win local buyers over competing products from suppliers on the other side of the globe.

When a wine company makes major investments, like in new product styling and R&D, uprooting vineyards and re-planting, or acquiring new land, wineries and competitors, more than sales data is a critical requirement.

This is where current, wine tasting sensory data is not only necessary, but paramount to success.

Unlike sales, which can be driven by price discounts and other factors, consumer feedback about the wines after they taste them, is a far clearer indicator of whether they will likely buy them again. This knowledge can save and make companies millions of dollars. By lowering decision risk, optimizing operational costs, removing or dramatically reducing the cost of failed product roll-outs, and maximizing market acceptance.


While sensory data is not readily available from typical data sources, it can surely be acquired through dedicated research designed and managed by internal teams or assigned to outside research firms.

But these tend to be large investments restricted to larger organizations. Even such companies may at times refrain from such research, for a number of reasons. Budget is one. Another is time.

It can take weeks before research results and recommendations come back from a research company. This leaves the business in a risky lurch.

Innovation in the areas of analytics, data visualization, and wine tasting software, is changing this reality. It is also leveling the playing field for wine producers and distributors of virtually any size.

Firstly, the acquisition of sensory data has become easy and relatively inexpensive. Secondly, systems can now be set to collect and push this data, perform data cleaning and integrate the data into the executive’s personalized interactive analytics dashboard on their laptop or tablet, in near real-time.

This translates into a new era for the wine industry. Where the data acquisition cycle is virtually immediate, decision making and operations are accelerated, and decision accuracy is improved.

Sales data and wine tasting sensory data each have their place and time. But blended into a single, near real-time interactive analytics dashboard, puts at the fingertips of the wine executive new capabilities that have never existed before. For instant insight and response to business questions, more accurate decision making, and endless discovery and opportunity mining.

To look under the hood of Quini’s sensory data & analytics platform beta, let me know by filling the form at the link in the middle of this page:

Roger Noujeim

Roger Noujeim


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