Wine analytics experts leverage Microsoft Azure to unlock profitability for Kiwi producers

Wine analytics experts leverage Microsoft Azure to unlock profitability for Kiwi producers

Solution designed to ensure Kiwi producers achieve the best possible price for wines

Grant Rimmer (NZWineMetrics) and Geoff Wilson (NZWineMetrics)

Grant Rimmer (NZWineMetrics) and Geoff Wilson (NZWineMetrics)

Wine industry analytics specialists, NZWineMetrics, is unlocking new profitability for wine producers in New Zealand, leveraging Microsoft software and solutions through consulting partner Mero.

Designed to ensure Kiwi producers achieve the best possible price for wines within the direct to international consumer channel (DTIC), the NZWineMetrics analytics business originated out of NZWineHome, an organisation which allows vineyards to export direct to consumers.

Specifically, NZWineHome provides a packaging and delivery service for producers, including managing customs, taxes and all other requirements of the destination country.

Founder Grant Rimmer wanted all vineyards to be able to just say “yes” to cellar door or online buyers who request New Zealand wine to be delivered to their home, around the globe.

Today, NZWineMetrics provides analytics to wine producers looking for ways to sell premium priced wines via the DTIC sales channel, blending direct wine sales data with export and tourism industry data.

The end result is the creation of data overlaps that clarify industry trends and answer market questions for producers.

“The number one concern of wine producers is profitability,” NZWineMetrics general manager Geoff Wilson said. “They also want to know how their performance compares to their peers.

“They ask which destinations internationally hold the most value and pay price premiums. When we tell them where they are relative to other vineyards in the region and nationally, the most common reaction is ‘Wow, I’m actually underselling’.

“They are sometimes surprised that there’s no immediate ceiling within the DTIC channel.”

According to Wilson, underselling, in both price and volume, is the most common scenario.

“For example, Australia is our largest DTIC market at approximately 40 per cent,” he explained. “If a vineyard is only at 30 per cent, why?

“Are they not marketing correctly to the Australian market, or not capitalising on closing opportunities? We also benchmark e-commerce vs. physical sales.”

From a regional perspective, Wilson said Hong Kong currently pays the biggest price premiums, followed by Singapore, while the Japanese market pays a 10-15 per cent premium over what Australia or the UK will pay.

Through leveraging data analytics, Wilson observed that Asian markets prefer red wine, which tends to have a higher price.

Closer to home however, most New Zealand wine producers don’t have in-house analysts, with NZWineMetrics selling information on a subscription basis along with other bespoke DTIC sales advisory services.

In providing a free high-level national overview, and a further two levels of deeper detail for individual producers, Rimmer said the ability to combine analytics with a delivery service represents a unique point of difference in the market.

“We’re not data or tech specialists – we partnered with Mero to select the right analytics solution and align it to our software,” Rimmer added. “This includes full support with data cleansing, extraction and analysis.”

With offices in Auckland and Wellington, alongside a consulting presence in Christchurch, Mero delivers enterprise-class analytics advisory services, providing analytics, planning and integration solutions to customers across New Zealand.

Leveraging deep expertise in Microsoft, Adaptive Insights and a wide range of open-source analytic technologies, the business extracts and transforms raw data using a variety of tools – including open source tools to reduce cost.

Mero loads the cleansed data into a cloud-based Microsoft Azure data base, then uses Microsoft Power BI and SQL Server for reporting.

“Mero has gone the extra mile to help us deliver analytics that are right on the money,” Rimmer added. “For us, the whole process has been quite painless.”

Rimmer said NZWineMetrics is now working to engage with regional and national industry bodies in the tourism and wine sectors.

Having recently presented to vineyards on varietal values, Rimmer said 85 per cent of the New Zealand wine industry’s traditional exports is Sauvignon Blanc, but that’s not what visitors send home.

“Pinot noir is number one, followed by Merlots and Cabernet blends and Chardonnay,” he explained. “People want what they can’t buy back home.

“Today, 24 per cent of all visitors to New Zealand are now actively taking a wine experience. Analytics can help New Zealand producers make the most of this massive opportunity.”

When wine tourism first became popular 15 years ago, Rimmer recalled a time when selling a few bottles on a one-off basis was all that was possible.

“Today those full retail margin sales are now at least a case, often multiple cases per customer,” he added.

“But the most exciting part – yet to be fully realised – is that technology now enables producers to build ongoing sales relationships, lasting long after the consumers’ initial visit to their winery.

“It’s this extended sales opportunity that really helps producers achieve a worthwhile return on their commitment and investment to wine tourism.”

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