NAFCU Services Blog

May 06, 2013

Why Aerating Wine Is Like Implementing Predictive Analytics

Guest post written by Kristin Locklear, wine enthusiast, avid fan of Sonoma, new believer in aerating, and Account Executive for Credit Unions at SAS, the world leader in predictive analytics. 

SAS is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Business Intelligence, Predictive Analytics Software & Risk Assessment.

Sonoma. The backdrop for some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery and wine was also the backdrop for this year’s NAFCU CEOs and Senior Executives Conference.  And what a backdrop it was! With pristine rolling hills, deep green valleys, and row after row of immaculate vineyards, it was hard to not feel as if you had just stumbled upon pure heaven on earth.

As more than 120 of us gathered to discuss such topics as regulation and leadership, it was hard to suppress my excitement for the scheduled group activities at hand. On Day 2, several buses departed for the ever-so-popular wine tour. What was expected to be just a day sipping fine wines, turned into a day of unexpected education (coupled with a little wine-sipping of course).

One of the ideas my tour group seemed to get hung up on was aerating (or letting the wine “breath” to enhance flavors), and for my sake, I’m glad they did. As it turns out, many of us had been doing it all wrong! Our tour guide, Heather, was a wealth of knowledge on this subject matter. She enthusiastically walked us through our lesson on what makes for good aeration and why it is often a necessary step to enhance red wine.

Letting red wine aerate is simply allowing it to mix with air, enabling the wine to slowly “open up” and develop into what it is meant to be. Heather referred to this process as “maximizing the flavor profile.” Simply put, it is a necessary step in doing wine right.  It is an easy step to ensuring the final product reaches its fullest potential.

So, how in the world is this at all similar to implementing predictive analytics? Puzzling comparison indeed, but here’s my answer: Predictive analytics is but a step to further enhance the data that you already have in house. It is a step to make the best of the data and maximize on that data—using it as your greatest asset, or, again, ensuring that it reached its fullest potential. Much like aerating wine, taking the extra step to layer a predictive analytics solution into your decision making process is the necessary step to making a good credit union great, or a great credit union even more outstanding. Whether you are speaking in terms of Northern California wine or predictive analytics, the parallel end goal is to take the one extra step, the extra effort to make it become its best. 

Integrating predictive analytics into your credit union and decision making process is much easier and less expensive than you would imagine. There’s a shorter learning curve, which means more people in various departments can utilize the software. More aerating of the data, if you will. 

I work for SAS. We are taking our customers from the reactive way of thinking and asking, “what happened?” to a proactive way of doing and asking “what is the best possible outcome that can happen?”

Contact me at or connect with me on LinkedIn at

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