An Interview with Andrew Lazorchak from Soirée

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

As I mentioned in my prior video review, the good folks who make the Soirée Wine Aerator were very accommodating of my requests. Andrew Lazorchak is a really great guy and he was nice enough to spend some time talking on the phone with me about the Soirée. Here is an interview I did with Andrew.

First off, thanks so much for the samples and thanks for taking the time to discuss the Soirée with us consumers. I really appreciate it.

Q: What is your role at Soirée?

Andrew Lazorchak: Bob, it is really our pleasure. As you would imagine we are happy to have your review of the product, and we are excited to see how the head-to-head with Vinturi goes. Your examination is thorough and we are glad to take this opportunity to delve into the product.

I am the Managing Director at Soirée. However, I am one of three partners who all helped craft the Soirée. My partners are Patrick & Coleen Costin. We are long time family friends who were brought together by our passion for good times and wine. As a team, we have constructed every piece of the brand and the product.

My role is a little bit of everything. From design, graphics, marketing, order placement, fulfillment, website design, team development….you name it – I am involved and I love it.

Q: Who invented the Soirée?

Andrew: My partners and myself all lent a hand in the generation of Soirée. As mentioned above, we spent many hours around the cellar bar or the kitchen table, and then one day we found ourselves designing a product, a brand, and an element that would all bring us closer to the world of wine. The Soirée was developed for 1.5 years, where we celebrated late nights of vino (Aka “product testing”) and development. And eventually, after many shapes and sizes, we arrived upon the Soirée. Honestly, we had so much more built into it as a concept. But we learned quickly that there is only so much you can do with glass, and more importantly, that wine only needs so much massaging to wake up.

Q: As I showed in the review, one of my samples broke because the green neck that holds the Soirée when not in use came loose from the base. If that same thing happened to someone who bought a Soirée, how would you handle a warranty replacement? How would you recommend customers contact Soirée for something like this?

Andrew: Great question. We always support our retailers, their customers, and our direct sale customers. Anyone that contacts Soirée with a quality issue, we look to take care of them straight away. Soirée will gladly send a replacement product assuming the claim is fair, after all they are glass and you do use them while drinking. But we do pride ourselves on our customer service and help out our customers and supporters whenever possible. The best way to contact us is by emailing us or using our contact form on the webpage. The main mailbox is and our phone is 1-888-5-Soiree. We welcome people to call us but that number is primarily set-up for our vendors to place orders.

And in response to the loose green neck you experienced; the way the base is assembled you can unscrew the green neck from the plastic base. It does have a tiny bit of glue to keep it in place. But on a rare occasion, the neck will become loose during shipping. It simply twists back in like a light bulb and should stay securely in place.

Q: In my video review, you can see I had some trouble understanding how to use the additional gasket with a screwcap bottle with a larger than standard enclosure. I think I figured it out since however- I'm supposed to attach the additional gasket to the Soir
ée and *then* stick it in the bottle, right?

Andrew: Bob, I did see you have trouble with the extra gasket, you are not alone. And this does raise a great question. The extra gasket.....

Well first, I will note that every Soirée is packaged with an insert card with basic use and care instructions. We do review the gaskets in our instructions, but we know that the extra piece can be mis-leading. We’d like our customers to know that we have received phone calls where we help explain the product and how it works with people, and that is great by us. We enjoy hearing people's experiences with their Soirée, we learn a lot from those interactions. You know, it is really awesome when someone calls you and just raves about your product. Not that it happens all the time, but recently it did. I got to talk with a wine enthusiast for an hour about their experience with Soirée, and my thoughts and their thoughts and on and on.... Point here is, don’t be afraid to contact us with questions, we look forward to speaking with you.

But to clarify the question about the gaskets. The gasket with 2 flanges is used with standard cork-top bottles. This Soirée comes in the package with the 2-flange gasket on it. The 2-flange gasket must be removed before the 3 flange gasket is applied. Now candidly, the 3 flanged gasket works with most screw cap bottles, however there are a select few that are even wider than we had seen in our studies. If it does not fit 100% comfortable we recommend you do not try to use the Soirée with that bottle. (but if you are daring you can always hold the Soirée in place while pouring and it should not leak and still work well.)

And one side note when interchanging the gaskets the gaskets can sometimes be hard to remove. If the gasket you have on the Soirée is really tight, just get it wet. Once water gets between the glass and rubber, the friction seal goes away and the rubber gasket will slide right off.

Q: What kind of wineries have been particularly receptive to the Soirée? Any region or varietal where the Soiree is particularly well suited?

Andrew: Well that is a good question, as I never thought of it in that way. I'd say that the wineries and vineyards that carry the Soirée and feature it in their tasting rooms, have one common thread they are "Good People". Seriously. The people who have tried the Soirée are typically more open-minded and willing to drop their preconception of how wine should be served or if it can be enhanced by “gadgets”. And I'd say that 80% or more of the people that try Soirée love it and become quick fans of the product. Yet of course, there are a few "Doubting Thomas' " and "know-it-all wine lovers" out there, and we appreciate them for that, as it keeps us on our toes.

But does Soirée thrive per grape varietal or region? I do not think so. We see sales from Upstate New York to Georgia to California , and many places in between. And we are international, with distribution in Australia , and the EU this November. So the Soirée works with a lot of the different varietals, and with wines from most regions.

But for the sake of generalizing, Soirée is great for mellowing out wines that are tightly crafted, have lots of structure, or just need a little help "stretching out". Further, Soirée is good for dispersing the "hot" alcohol burn that can come with wines from hotter climates. Reds are great with Soirée. Reds just have more to them and need more help opening up.

And for the record, the Soirée is not about a single variety or region. The best bet is to just try the Soirée. Try it on a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, and of course all the reds. You will see bouquet enhancement on whites, depth added to young wines, and your big boy reds; they will be "unleashed" with their flavors, nuances, and aromatics enhanced in a gentile and surprising manor. I always encourage people to do a taste test with every bottle. Simply pour some wine straight from the bottle into a glass, then pour a second glass through the Soirée. Then taste, see what you notice...that is the fun of explore what is has to offer...or the story it will tell.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to purchase a Soirée online?

Andrew: Well if there is no retailer by you, please visit our online store. ( ) We also have retailers who sell Soirée online, so please feel free to shop around.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to find a local retailer who sells the Soirée?

Andrew: To find a retailer in your neighborhood, check our list of retailers. ( ) And when you visit that store, feel free to let them know you came there looking for the Soirée.

Q: What is your favorite part of Soirée?

Andrew: First off, I’d like to say Thank You again for this opportunity!

There are so many aspects of Soirée that have been a blessing and treasure. What grabs me most is the ability to interact with the wine trade and people who enjoy wine. To get to know the trade is to hang-out with a lot of kind people who celebrate their passion for art in the form of winemaking. Truly, the wine makers, vineyard owners, and wine reps all share a unique bond and camaraderie in their labor, it is usually a welcoming scene and good-natured people.

At the same rate, it is priceless to be able to talk directly to the fellow wine appreciator. Most wine drinkers enjoy learning more about wine, and to discuss view points and opinions. I really like the opportunity to share the Soirée and illuminate the common oversight of the average wine drinker. Most wine drinkers admit they do not decant their wine or reserve decanting for fancy bottles. This commonality makes it a great opportunity to demonstrate Soirée and receive the "Wows" when people see how easy and affective aeration is for wine. It's a great job! We get to expand the understanding and enjoyment of wine. And at the same time, we have the opportunity to offer people an easy, affordable product that does just that - enhances wine enjoyment.

Thanks a lot for your time Andrew. I wish you luck with the Soiree and in all you do.


mcoffy said...

The Soriee works great and is going to be my stocking stuffer of choice this year. Its a great conversation piece. Doing a taste test (with and w/o the aerator) on a fresh bottle of cab is great fun, and gives you chance to show of your wine and fluid dynamics smarts.
See the video from this site:

Shell said...

I found the style and personality that came through the two aerator-inventor interviewees' responses to be fascinating...almost more than the wine-related discussion (shame on me!).

Their products do the same thing. You are clearly more pleased with (at least, it seems that way to me) the Vinturi. However, Rio's responses did not read to me as though he were as accommodating or eager to be helpful as did Andrew. In fact, his answers to some questions read to me as a bit standoffish.

As a consumer who is planning to purchase an aerator as a Christmas gift this year, my intellectual intent is to buy the best product but my emotional inclination is to go with the product made by the more approachable, "nicer" guy. After all, drinking wine, for me, is an emotional more than a clinical experience.

How did you go about transcribing the responses to the interview questions? Did you feel that there was a difference in these two men's reaction to you as a consumer reviewer? If so, did it make you feel differently about the products they were representing? Did you feel that your questions were all fairly and fully responded to by both?

snapdragonsyrum said...

I ran into these guys at the Bostons Wine Expo last year and got myself a Soiree. Just for kicks I tested various friends over the year to see which glass of wine TASTED better. The results? 21 of 25 friends easily chose the one poured with the Soiree!! (the other 4 say they love both) Its such a fun, elegant product! I love lifting the Soiree/bottle fully upside-down and watching it pour around and around. Just beautiful. Its hard to drink wine now without one. Thank you very much- you heightened my wine-drinking experience!!

Bob said...

@mcoffy Thanks for checking in! Showing off fluid dynamics smarts is always fun. :)

And @snapdragonsyrum- I agree the upside down/cascading wine phenomenon is fun to watch. Maximum aeration that way for sure. 21/25, eh? I'd be curious whether that was blind or not.

@Shell Each interview was done by me sending my list of questions over E-mail and they responded inline. Andrew's responses to my inquiries in general were amazingly enthusiastic and supportive and I think that comes through in his interview. I thought Rio was kind to oblige me with an interview seeing as how his product is more mature and well-known already. I enjoyed his edgy, straightforward answers. Honestly, it was great of both of these guys to respond to my inquiries- their products have each been featured in more prominent publications than this humble little blog.

I should mention that there's a third product in this space that I've been pursuing for a sample and an interview and the firm that represents that product has not responded at all to my inquiries. In this context, it makes me even more appreciative to the responses I've gotten from both Andrew and Rio.

Thanks for the comments everyone!

gaza said...

I always have a problem with these kinds of "interviews". At the top, the article suggests that this was a phone interview since they "spent some time talking on the phone". Really?

"My partners and myself all lent a hand in the generation of Soirée. As mentioned above..."

Above? You actually said "above" while on the telephone? This looks like a scripted exchange to me; this isn't really an interview.

Nothing against the product as I've never used it, but I was contemplating it until I saw this infomercial.

Robert Dwyer said...

@gaza Sorry if the wording led you to believe it was a phone interview. I talked with Andrew on the phone (first thought). Then I did an interview with him via E-mail (second thought).

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