The wine industry is constantly faced with new trends, challenges, and the pressure to stay ahead of the competition. With that, comes the opportunity to innovate.
Each year Wine Industry Advisor recognizes five wine industry innovators—not just for their impressive ingenuity or technical advances—but because of how their product and/or service betters the North American wine industry.
When you boil down why Quini could be highly successful, it comes down to the wine sensory data and analytics company being able to level the playing field for producers.
“You no longer have be to be a winery the size of E. & J. Gallo or have your own sensory lab for you to have world-class research capabilities,” says Roger Noujeim, Quini’s CEO.
The firm, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, unveiled the industry’s first integrated near real-time sensory data and sales analytics platform at the 2020 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Its success has netted one of Wine Industry Network’s WINnovation awards for 2021.
Noujeim says what’s exciting about Quini’s B2B model is that “we are helping wineries to answer business and product questions through what is commonly understood as consumer sensory research, in around one-third of the time and cost of traditional research.”
This platform and its faster access to valuable information at an affordable price has allowed producers to remove what has been three big barriers to using consumer research.
One of those, Noujeim says, is that many winemakers make the wine primarily based on their expertise and taste rather than consumer opinion. “The focus on the end consumer has never been up there in terms of really understanding them,” he says, adding that the process is beginning to change as more producers start to hire consumer-centered marketing professionals with major wine or CPG company experience such as Gallo, Procter & Gamble, and others.
A second hurdle has been the length of time it has taken, as much as several months, for answers to the consumer research to come back. What also has been a difficult workaround has been the cost, as much as $20,000 or more just for three or four focus groups, “and that deliver only snapshot-in-time answers to your questions,” Noujeim says. “That’s it. It stops. And here’s the important thing to remember: The value of data in a snapshot research is mostly relevant to the specific research and often starts to degrade right after the data is acquired.”
With Quini’s integrated system and infrastructure, producers can get their answers in three to four weeks rather than several months and from an aggregation of larger consumer audiences.
“Instead of putting people to manually organize research for a client project, we created a model with consumer panels running regularly in all the client’s key markets,” Noujeim says.
In addition, the data capture and reporting is automated, so developing the research is virtually instant and if the tasting is done in the evening, the client has the interactive analytics on their laptop in the morning. The unique data capture software, report delivery and consumer reach, he says, “has significantly cut down the time a winery needs to get answers and hugely reduces the cost.”
The data can be pinpointed to the specific needs of the producers, from answering the ‘why’ behind sales declines and evaluating product cannibalization risks to understanding millennial consumer or regional market preferences.
“We found that every winery has a different business or product question on the CEO’s or owner’s mind,” Noujeim says. “The data they acquire is so deep and rich, it can help you to quickly answer and move on from a lingering question while the value of that data and insight compounds and increases over time as new, regularly incoming data is added.”
All WINnovation Award winners will be exhibited at Wine Industry Network’s WINExpo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on December 2, 2021, where they will also receive their official award and highlighted in the program guide. Register here.