Wednesday, January 21, 2009
As I mentioned in my video review of the Respirer, Will Priest was immensely helpful and responsive to my inquiries. He was kind enough to take the time to answer these questions, and provide a free shipping coupon code for Wellesley Wine Press readers (more information at the end of this entry):
Q: What is your role with the Respirer product? What is your background?
Will Priest: I have a variety of roles from ensuring that our Customers and Consumers are happy with each shipment day in and day out to creating our product line(s). First and foremost I’m a wine lover, not necessarily the most sophisticated enthusiast mind you, but an avid one with a passion for learning about wines and people that enjoy wine. I most recently worked in the golf industry for the top 3 manufacturers in the world over the past 2 decades. I’m formally school in mechanical engineering and held positions ranging from Production Engineer to VP of Operations. Golf is a great sport steeped in tradition, yet sadly it’s a steadily declining industry. I love tradition and history. Those are the two reasons why I moved over to the wine industry: it’s growing (perhaps with a bump in the road this year due to current economic conditions) and it’s steeped in history and tradition.
Q: Who invented and designed the Respirer?
Will: The invention comes from a collaborative effort between myself and a much more skilled CAD engineer who is a long time friend and colleague. Honestly, the mechanics of hydrodynamics (the study of liquids in motion) is not very revolutionary. Case in point is that Karl Benz patented the use of a venturi in a carburetor to mix fuel and air way back in 1886. The wine aerator challenges arise around creating a product that is sexy and enhances the wine drinking experience, while overcoming the inherent issues associated with the starting and stopping of the wine flow. It’s more of a challenge that one might first consider. To this end, we incorporated a design feature called the Vortex Impedance Control (VIC), which regulates and conditions the wine prior to the aeration process. I contend that this technology is so powerful that you’ll see the competition attempt to emulate it in the near future.
Q: Are you a wine drinker yourself? If so, which types of wines do you think benefit most from aeration with the Respirer?
Will: You’ll love this one. On my honeymoon I went to a tasting room up in Sonoma, California. It was 9:30 in the morning and my first time at a winery. At this point in my life, 2 weeks away from graduating college, I drank mostly beer and an occasional glass of Chardonnay. When I wanted to be daring, I’d try a White Zinfandel (I was truly cutting edge)! Well, 6 or 7 tastings into the experience, and not knowing that I could spit out the tastings, I was feeling particularly bold and asked to sample the Cabernet. That was it; I was sold. From about 10:00 that morning on the 3rd day of my honeymoon, I became partial to Cabs. Believe me, the honeymoon experience was one to remember. Today I drink mostly Cabs and Merlots, with an occasional trip to a Shiraz, however a big Cabernet hits my hot spot. As for which wines benefit the most, well there are over 6,000 wineries in the USA alone so the list is quite long. In general, you cannot hurt a wine by aerating UNLESS it is an older red that is already showing signs of losing its flavor. As a rule of thumb, I’d suggest to anyone that is concerned about whether to aerate an older wine (usually one that has sediment, therefore is 7-8 years or older) or not to either seek advice from a sommelier or skip aerating altogether. I contrast it would be difficult to “hurt” a younger wine with aeration. Don’t let anyone fool you, it’s a matter of the degree to which the aeration helps. Some wines, not so much, most wines, very much so.
Q: The wine accessory market is very competitive. What has it been like getting the Respirer off the ground?
Will: Each day brings exciting new challenges. I come from an industry that essentially is a zero sum gain; if one company grew, another one lost. The pie was only so big. In wine aeration, we’re just beginning to see the blend of science with style that will continue to grow the aeration market for years to come. Do you remember wood woods in golf? In 1979, Gary Adams developed the first metal wood for Taylor Made and everyone thought it was the cat’s meow, and it was. Today that same club, although precious in its own right, couldn’t hold a candle to the current products in the market place. I see the same in wine aeration. The first one out there was nice. It served a need and grew a market that didn’t exist, but it’s not the end all. The Respirer is a next step. There will be more. My company welcomes the competition. And the best part is that I have yet to meet anyone in the wine industry that didn’t love their job, which is to create memorable experiences for each wine enthusiast.
Q: What is your favorite thing about working with the Respirer?
Will: We’ve just started and there’s so much more to come. I’m looking forward to reflecting back on this period in our lives some 10 – 20 years from now. This is a fun, exciting and special time for the wine industry, more so than some people might think.
I'd like to thank Will for his time answering my questions and for extending the offer of free ground shipping to my readers. To consider the offer:
- Visit the Respirer web site to learn more about the product
- Click on "Buy Now" and "Add to Cart"
- Upon checkout, enter "DWYER09" as your Coupon Code
This offer is good through February 14th, 2009. I hope you take advantage of it!
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Question of the Day: What do you think of the Respirer? Do you have any questions for Will about the product?