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Since 1756 the Riedel glass company has been a leading force in the glassmaking business. Eleven generations have fine-tuned their skills and craftsmanship to bring to our table the most magnificent stemware, a favorite with oenophiles and design aficionado. Their pieces are sought out by museums and art galleries and considered both: art pieces and functional tools. Riedel changed the way we enjoy wine in the 1950s with the introduction of grape varietal specific glasses that enhance the flavor and aroma of the world’s finest wines.
The architecture of stemware has three key components: bowl, stem and base. Size, height and width should also be in perfect harmony with the correct proportions. Riedel’s designs follow the strict architectural formula spearheaded by Viennese architects since the 1920s, taking into consideration shape, size and rim diameter to translate and deliver the best bouquet, taste, balance and finish of wine. The result is stemware that is function-specific and pleasing to the eyes. Riedel’s eponymous Sommelier line, launched in 1973, heralded a new era for the brand, which now produces decanters that look like museum pieces, but are in also considered essential wine tools.Among the most beautiful and popular products from the Austrian company, it is important to mention the bird series (Swann, Paloma and Flamingo), their first intergenerational project. “These decanters are true works of art, because there is no mold to pour the glass into. My father and I were inspired during a trip to Venice, where I did my internship on the island of Murano, home to some of the best glass artists in the world”, says a proud Maximilian of the collection that represents birds in flight. Also worthy of praise are the O decanter and the Mamba (inspired by the year of the snake), which earned the brand two Good Design Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.
Riedel has also taken upon itself to educate consumers in the art of wine tasting. They have partnered with renowned wine makers to organize more than 2,000 comparative stemware seminars in the US and on board select Celebrity Cruises. A typical event consists of trying glasses for Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet. The guests taste the wine from the correct glass, describe the experience and compare the differences when taken from another glass.
Maximilian recommends pouring only 3-4 ounces on the glass, even if it can hold 7, since the amount of fluid influences the way wine flows onto your palate. For example, a narrow rim makes the wine flow towards the front of the tongue, where we taste more of the fruit, the sweetness, while a wider rim will direct the wine towards the back of the mouth, where the receptors for saltiness and alcohol are located. “It is all about the senses: the aesthetics, feel, balance of the glass and quality of the wine. Everything plays a big role”, says the CEO.
Sommelier, Vinum, Overture, O, and Black Tie are iconic representatives of the best glassware in the world, while Boa, Mamba, O, Swann, Amadeo and Escargot are examples of the finest decanters ever produced. The reputation of the brand, with offices in Japan, Australia, Austria, Germany, China, Canada and the US, and sales of $300 million annually, is well deserved. After 11 generations of glassmaking traditions, Riedel is poised to leave the 12th generation a legacy of excellence, innovation and the best wine glasses in the world. ■