Q&A: Gary Olasz (Coravin)


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Managing Director of global wine technology company, Coravin, Gary Olasz joins us for a short interview.

What’s an exceptional hospitality experience to you? 

When there is attention to detail in the craft and service for the customer – leaving an everlasting memory of the experience.

How will Vinitas change the way on-premise businesses engage with wine products? 

Wineries will benefit from it the most in their cellar doors, where they can offer their flagship wines for people at a fraction of the full bottle price.

They will also be able to offer tasting packs of their range, so customers can decide which one they would like to purchase in larger formats.

Are there any new business models you foresee emerging? I imagine wine subscription models will quickly adapt but who else might want to adopt the technology?

Wine distributors will use the new technology to showcase their portfolios to on- and off-premise venues. Franc About Wine, an Australian distributor has already implemented this with great success.

Another use-case is airlines, where they have the opportunity to eliminate the huge wine wastage that they have at the moment. They currently have to pour out all leftover open bottles after a flight.

How has Coravin evolved since the first product launched 10 years ago?

Since launching our first device, we have introduced two more products that aimed to increase profitability and decrease wastage for venues – and more importantly, provide a diverse offering by the glass for customers. Now, with the new Pivot system, we have managed to increase presence in peoples’ homes.

Where else are you pushing things forward to innovate?

We are fine tuning our Vinitas System to provide a longer and longer lifespan. Our aim is to go beyond 12 months. We are currently at an 8 month lifespan in the Vinitas bottles.

Which brands or individuals do you look to for inspiration?

Other companies that have high quality, unique products and great service delivery, like Nespresso.

What have you found to be the most valuable resource in the development of your career – and what resources do you look to now? Are they the same?

I am very much involved with the wine industry, which connects me with my work.

Some other resources I truly enjoy are: The World of Fine Wine magazine and their limited release regional wine books, Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris, Inside Bordeaux by Jane Anson, the GuildSomm website and Situational Leader by Dr Paul Hersey

If someone wants to do what you do, what advice do you have for them? 

Make sure to understand the market and its clients and that you speak their language. Build a team that takes ownership and have good self drive.

Who inspired you when you started out and why – and who inspires you now and why?

Gerard Basset was one whom I have admired most. He achieved like no one other in the field and created a great business. [The late Gerard Basset was a prominent sommelier and Founder of a multimillion-pound British hotel business].

What’s your greatest friction point at the moment and what are you learning from it?

At the moment, the industry is dancing on a fine line and the spending power of people is very volatile and unpredictable, making forecasting very challenging.

Who would you like to see an interview with – and what would you ask them?

Barrack Obama – I would like to know his view of wine and most treasured drop in the cellar.

About Gary Olasz

Gary Olasz has been the Managing Director of global wine technology company, Coravin, since late-2020. During this period, Olasz’ priority has been expanding the brand’s
presence amongst consumers within Australia and New Zealand.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.