The barrier to the world's finest wine isn't price — it's access
Wine Access was founded on the philosophy that small wineries, often tended by a single family for generations, offer quality per dollar spent that is simply unmatched by the big corporate wineries that line your grocery store shelves. Finding them is the hard part. That’s where Wine Access comes in, sourcing and delivering quality wines at a value.
Wine Access was facing restrictions from various regulatory laws imposed upon online alcohol sales and had a hard stop deadline - they could potentially lose their ability to accept or ship orders until a new system was in place. Wine Access tapped the solutions team at JBS to overhaul their entire application. JBS helped to strengthen their online presence, streamline reporting, and secure their back-of-the-house inventory reporting. By migrating to AWS and updating their application, Wine Access was able to not only continue to deliver incredible value to their customers, but also be prepared for continued regulatory changes.
In addition to the chaotic nature of keeping pace with regulatory changes, Wine Access was facing a serious problem. Their existing application was running on technology that was built in the late 1990s and was hosted at a colocation data center, running on antiquated technology. It was expensive not only to host, but also to maintain. The cost of maintenance and slow pace of progress spelled trouble for Wine Access.
In any competitive e-commerce market, it is imperative not only to reduce costs but also to drive new initiatives aimed at increasing revenue. With an aging system slowing development progress, Wine Access leadership decided it was time to make a change. It would not be possible for them to continue to be competitive, gain customers, and keep up with regulatory changes on an application that was increasingly difficult to enhance and maintain.
How JBS helped
JBS proposed two major changes: a migration to the cloud and adherence to agile rapid development cycles. JBS leveraged Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop a new cloud platform for Wine Access. The migration was phased to eliminate unnecessary downtime, focusing first on the most critical and customer-facing pieces of the application. The software stack was migrated to modern, opensource software and the infrastructure began a migration to the AWS cloud. Agile software development best practices were put into place, resulting in shorter feedback loops and improved development productivity.
The elastic nature of the cloud meant that Wine Access was able to reduce operating expenditures moving to EC2, only paying for the resources they needed, when they needed them. AWS also provides many other services, leveraged to improve the functionality and dependability of the application – including but not limited to RDS, S3, Lambda, and SES. These services allowed the JBS team to rapidly develop robust, reliable systems for Wine Access. Over the years, Wine Access has also utilized AWS Redshift, WAF, and SNS to improve reporting, security, and communication with customers. The partnership between JBS and Wine Access resulted in a future-ready, resilient system with lower operating and maintenance costs.
The custom solution developed by JBS featured a completely integrated framework for inbound and outbound purchasing, tracking, and reporting. Key to the new system was a mobile-responsive ecommerce website, written using Django and Oscar. This new website utilized integrations with numerous third-party vendors in a dynamic, friendly, and regulatory compliant manner. The site was SEO/SEM optimized using smart search and provided management tools for both users and administrators. Reporting was improved to provide business users with in-depth and up-to-date informatics and analytics. Customer management and user experience were also greatly improved.
All of these improvements to the application were sitting on performant and redundant server architecture. AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) provided enormous cost savings and improved reliability and maintainability compared to the existing hosting solution. Elastic Load Balancers (ELB) and Web Application Firewall (WAF) were utilized to balance traffic between servers and block malicious traffic. New flows were developed using AWS Lambda and Simple Email Service (SES) that allowed for near-instant processing of incoming emails. Customer engagement was improved by sending text messages using Simple Notification Service (SNS). For Wine Access, the end result of their transition from colocation data center to cloud was improved reliability, functionality, support, and savings.