AWS Marketplace

How Wine Access optimizes wine delivery using WeatherTrend360 from AWS Data Exchange

Wine Access, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) wine retailer, has transformed their wine delivery business using AWS services. In this blog post, I show you how Wine Access uses WeatherTrend360 in AWS Data Exchange to solve their business operation challenges, improve the customer experience, and increase customer satisfaction.

Business challenges 

Wine Access faced a few challenges with their DTC operations, including temperature fluctuations, regulations, supply chain selections, and damage during transit.

In this blog post, I show how Wine Access solved the problem of temperature fluctuations using AWS technology and WeatherTrends 360 datasets from AWS Data Exchange. This Daily 14-Day Forecast Weather Data dataset from WeatherTrend360 is updated dynamically in AWS Data Exchange.

The temperature challenge

As you might know, wine is delicate and sensitive to heat and low temperature. Thus, it can’t be shipped during extreme weather unless special measures are taken. Those measures often increase shipping and operation costs. Weather considerations can affect the time of the year that wine can be shipped and if a weather hold must be put in place. Weather can also affect the destination of wine shipments and which routes the shipments can take.

When the weather conditions aren’t optimal for wine, wine delivery must adapt. A non-perishable delivery package can be left on a front porch, regardless of the temperature. But if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, due to wine sensitivity, wine delivery must be delayed to ensure a good customer experience.

Solution overview

To overcome the temperature fluctuations challenge, Wine Access built an in-house solution, using AWS technology and a dataset from WeatherTrends360 in AWS Data Exchange. WeatherTrend360, available in AWS Marketplace, provides weather data and analytics. The WeatherTrends360 global solutions include historical weather data, short-range weather forecasts, and a proprietary year-ahead statistical weather forecasting model. Wine Access procured WeatherTrends360’s hyper-local customized short-range weather datasets for this project.

Previously, Wine Access had to call the WeatherTrends360 API for every single zip code they needed the weather data for. This took several hours and did not give them the full picture for every zip code in the country, but only for zip codes where they had outstanding orders. Beginning in 2020, Wine Access subscribed to the WeatherTrends360 data through AWS Data Exchange and was able to substantially improve their process. Now they ingest the data via AWS Data Exchange and use a Lambda function that grabs the new data revision each night and injects it directly into their Aurora MYSQL database.

Now, as soon as an order is placed online, the solution ingests weather data and runs through Wine Access’ in-house analysis to forecast the weather. This forecast helps set customer expectations for if, when, and how the wine can be delivered. They can also intelligently allow a customer to change their order’s ship date based on weather conditions. If they were limited to a traditional API rather than AWS Data Exchange, they could not grab the volume of weather data they need to make this possible. This results in higher customers satisfaction and reduces the cost of damaged and returned wine.  Andrew Walleck, Wine Access COO, says, “By leveraging AWS data exchange and Weather Trends data, we can be confident that our wines will arrive in perfect condition, tasting no different to our customers than when our best-in-class wine team tasted it at the winery.”

The workflow consists of the following steps:

  1. Subscribe to a WeatherTrend360 data set from AWS Data Exchange.
  2. Export weather data to Amazon S3 using a Lambda function
  3. Run in-house data extract, transformation, and load (ETL) job to load weather data.
  4. Store data in a MySQL.
  5. Execute the in-house analysis tool to analyze data from MySQL.
  6. Forecast weather conditions for the next two weeks.
  7. Use the weather conditions to determine logistics for wine orders. The forecast results show at the time when the customers place the order, so they have up-to-date information on how and when their wine orders can be delivered.

Refer to the following diagram.

Wine Access using WeatherTrend360 on AWS Data Exchange diagram

Results from weather forecast analysis are pulled into customer’s checkout screen. Refer to the following screenshot, which shows an order summary for a $24 bottle of wine and a delivery date of January 13 via UPS.

Wine Access Checkout page

 

Conclusion

This overview describes how Wine Access uses software from AWS Marketplace and dynamically updated weather forecasting datasets from AWS Data Exchange to ensure product quality for wine home delivery. Wine Access imports a dataset from AWS Data Exchange to Amazon S3, performs an in-house ETL job on the data, and runs SQL queries with a propriety in-house tool. This process results in a weather forecast and timeline for the delivery route, which is displayed to a customer when they place their order. Andrew Walleck, COO of Wine Access noted that “By leveraging AWS Data Exchange and Weather Trends data, we can be confident that our wines will arrive in perfect condition, tasting no different to our customers than when our best-in-class wine team tasted it at the winery.”

For more information, see WeatherTrends360 in AWS Data Exchange or visit the WeatherTrends360 site. You can subscribe to WeatherTrends360 directly in AWS Data Exchange to get dynamic updates of the datasets.

About the Author

Nam Le Nam Le, Senior Partner Solutions Architect, AWS Marketplace

Nam Le focuses on security and governance with close to 20 years of experience in consulting, sales and engineering. He specializes in AWS Control Tower, AWS Service Catalog, AWS Marketplace, and AWS Data Exchange. As an AWS Marketplace Solutions Architect, he also works with AWS partners to build and deliver best-practices solutions to customers. Outside of work, he enjoys biking, car building, travel photography, and spending time with family.