Interview: Catching Up with Coravin

When Coravin launched in 2013, this innovative technology reshaped the wine-drinking experience at home and on-premise. Today the company continues to expand its tech throughout the world of wine. Coravin also recently announced a new CEO, Christopher Ladd, who brings decades of experience in global brand building and ecommerce.

To catch up with Coravin, and explore Ladd’s vision of the company’s future, we recently chatted with the new CEO.

StateWays: How did Coravin build a name brand so quickly?

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Christopher Ladd: It all begins with our founder, Greg Lambrecht. He has a background in medical devices and a passion for wine. His wife was pregnant, and not drinking wine, meaning he had to open a bottle for himself whenever he wanted wine. So he was only getting a glass, or a glass and a half, per bottle, because he was drinking alone.

He was mulling over this problem, as a natural entrepreneur. He was thinking whether there was a way to use needles to remove the wine without breaking the cork, all while keeping the wine fresh. He was working on this idea on his own for years when he discovered that there was a market after he shared the idea with his friends.

Greg started commercializing the product and then launched in 2013. He began with wineries, which helped him prove out that the technology behind Coravin really did work. It really did keep the wine fresh.

From there Greg moved into the restaurant, direct-to-consumer and retail spaces.

SW: So what’s next for the brand?

CL: Looking at the future, I see three major areas of growth. First of all, we’re a U.S.-based company, but most wine drinkers in the world live outside the U.S. International expansion offers us a lot of growth in the future. We have a new product coming along that we have unveiled in the major wine shows in Europe.

Second, there’s a huge emphasis now on digital marketing. The majority of our sales today come from the internet. I see that continuing to grow, whether on our own sites or on the websites of our retail partners.

And thirdly, we’ll continue to expand our product offerings. We have two new products coming out soon.

SW: What are they?

CL: I can’t say exactly just yet, but I’ll say that we’ll continue to look at how we can service more customers through more channels. For instance, there are certain consumers we currently cannot address because of their preferred price points. We will continue to look at ways to get the price points down for our products.

On the high-end side, we have our Bluetooth-enabled product that can track your pours through an app. We want to expand that product into other areas of the wine-buying experience. We want our app to help you find wines from around the world, while also keeping track of what’s in your cellar.

Our goal is to be a preeminent brand in the wine industry, not just a product.

SW: More specifically, what did you unveil in Europe?

CL: We’re redesigning the clamps on the device to make it easier. It’ll be a Smart clamp. It’ll launch in April or May. It’s just slowed a bit due to the Coronavirus.

And later this year you’ll see a whole newly designed line launch.

SW: A retailer recently told us that Coravin is the first nonalcoholic product he’s ever had a customer ask for by name. The store began carrying your product after this request. Why has your brand resonated so well with consumers?

CL: We’re allowing people to explore wine in ways that they’ve never explored before. For hundreds and hundreds of years, wine culture centered on pulling the cork and then worrying about spoilage. Our product has completely changed that experience.

I now find myself drinking better wine by the glass, and with a higher frequency, which is a great all-around experience.

Kyle Swartz is editor of StateWays.

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