WDS Revamps Its Resource for Wine Professionals in Less Than Four Months

The Challenge

Until now, the world of wine has never had a complete reference resource. Traders had to refer to a disparate array of databases in different formats, developed by different organizations and localized for different regions. The same wine can even have different names depending on the distribution network, making it difficult to track.

To address this, WDS gathered all available, disparate wine data — thousands of data points covering everything from appellation to color — into one database. This would provide wine professionals a quick, accurate and broad overview of all available wine.

This was a huge task, and due to the small size of the company, it needed to find a solution that would be inexpensive, easy to use and online quickly, WineDataSystem had been relying on an operating model based on SQL, Windev and PostgreSQL, a triple technology solution that had some major drawbacks. The lack of flexibility made modifying a field, changing a link or adapting the data model a Herculean task.

There were also some serious issues with performance. Interlinking data from extremely varied sources made handling the data cumbersome and time-consuming. A mere threepage request could take five seconds to return a response.

Aymeric Fournier, founder and CEO, recalls: “Our challenge wasn’t just about managing large volumes of data, but addressing issues concerning ease of access and flexibility for users.”

The Solution

Neo4j allowed WDS to manage a huge volume of data from a disparate set of sources while still being able to perform queries in one hundredth of a second. This, combined with its user-friendly interface and flexibility, led the company to rewrite its entire solution code surrounding Neo4j.

“We definitely made a technical choice, since Neo4j lets us manage very complex data from varied sources with handling times that are a hundredth of a second,” explains Fournier. “But beyond the purely technical aspect, our choice was also guided by our start-up mentality: We wanted a modern solution that lets us explore infinite possibilities.”

The first deliverable solution appeared at the end of 2014, less than four months after the initiative was launched.

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