The wine data mine: Is it Wine O'Clock Yet?

What time is “wine o’clock” exactly? Well… The number crunchers of the world wondered the same thing, and they’ve come up with some unique insights based on the use of "big data." We thought this article was pretty interesting. It’s a true analysis of how social sharing and sharing a bottle of wine can intersect. We hope you enjoy these findings!

The wine data mine

Original article found on Meininger’s Wine Business International on Monday, May 9, 2016

by Felicity Carter

The term ‘wine o’clock’ is a slang expression used in the English-speaking world to signal that ‘it’s time to finish the day’s work and wind down’.

‘Big data’ describes the huge amount of information we all generate every time we use social media or make an online purchase. In April, the use of big data revealed that ‘Wine O’Clock’ actually exists, opening the door to the targeting of sales messages to consumers when they’re most receptive to hearing them.

The discovery comes out of a collaboration between research company Enolytics and the wine app Hello Vino. It’s an important milestone, not merely because it confirms that wine downtime actually exists, but also because it points the way to the future of wine marketing. 

cathyhtighterDeep insights...

Cathy Huyghe, (pictured here) a writer for business magazine Forbes, says that after writing about wine, innovation and technology for two and a half years, she had a light-bulb moment: Businesses as diverse as media and pharmaceuticals have exploited big data to map and even predict human behaviour.

Why couldn’t big data do the same for wine?

Brushing down a brand name she’d registered five years earlier called Enolytics, she contacted Rick Breslin (pictured below), the co-founder and CEO of Hello Vino  a wine recommendation app. The app has two million users who are constantly adding data about what they buy, and when, even going so far as to upload pictures of the wines they’re buying and drinking.

“We’re collecting an incredible amount of data: The different occasions when people buy wine, and flavour profiles they’re most interested in,” says Breslin.

Huyghe and Breslin brain-stormed how they could best use the data and decided to ask a simple question:

When do people drink wine?

Enolytics’ team worked with Hello Vino to analyse the data, and discovered that Americans start engaging with wine at 4:45pm. Their interest grows between 6:00pm and 6:45pm and then they call it quits about 9:00pm.

The app’s geolocation ability shows where users are in the moment they’re making purchase decisions, or recording the wine they’re drinking. “We can tell within ten feet of where the interaction is taking place, so we know if it’s a restaurant, a supermarket or a residential area,” says Huyghe.

The data was used to create a vinous heat map of US wine behaviour, showing when people in different markets are most likely to be thinking about wine. The implications are enormous, because the data will make it possible for wine distributors and marketers to target the perfect message to an enthusiastic consumer at exactly the right time.

While most people could probably guess that the peak time for wine was the evening, the heat map did turn up surprises, says Breslin. Lunchtime on weekends isn’t a peak time for wine drinking. California, despite being a huge wine market, engages with wine for a shorter period than the east coast, possibly because New Yorkers stay up late. Those kinds of insights can be valuable for targeting sales pitches more accurately.

The implications...

Huyghe says the Wine O’Clock report is only the beginning. “From flash sales, we can know the price point preferences of consumers from a particular zip code,” she says. “From app, email and SMS data sources we can know which consumers are interested in which discounts.” And from data sources that track user profiles, the data can even show what foods consumers like to eat with what they’re drinking.

“When you’re using the app, we’re learning about you,” says Breslin. “If you’re a white wine drinker and prefer white wine with hints of lemon, we won’t tell you about red blends.”


Enolytics and Hello Vino are initially going to co-publish their data reports, to see how the industry wants to use the information. Hello Vino will also use it for their own purposes. “We don’t sell wine, but there are some very interesting wine subscription opportunities where we can communicate with consumers when they’re looking to buy a wine, and use this data to personalize the wine-shopping experience,” says Breslin.

The four-member team at Enolytics is also building a proprietary data model that integrates multiple data sources from across the industry, with the aim of developing sophisticated industry insights. “We can also visualize data for a company that has data but doesn’t know what to do with it,” says Huyghe.

The emergences of big wine data promises to revolutionise the way wine is promoted and sold, from offering the ability to spot micro-trends with the potential to evolve into megatrends, to pinpointing exactly the right time to advertise a wine to a consumer, to helping sommeliers predict the perfect food and wine match for specific customers.

Wine o’clock is set to evolve.

So now you know. Wine O'Clock is a real thing! Be sure to check out the amazing selection of wines we have to offer our Wine Ambassador Community. We're here to make sure every bottle is worth opening whenever wine o'clock rolls around for you!