Riedel, perfect precision

Sep 14, 2020 • 2 mins

We’ve known for 260 years who makes the best wine-tasting glasses in the world... Riedel, an Austrian company with its subsidiaries Spigelau and Nachtmann, is the unrivalled specialist in glasses designed for grape-specific tasting.

“It all began in Bohemia in 1756,” explains Philippe Guillon, who manages Riedel France, “and really after the second world war, when Walter Riedel and his son Claus began creating the Sommeliers series in 1958, with the founding Burgundy Grand Cru glass (exhibited at the MoMa in New York). Depending on their shape and inside proportions, these glasses provide the best opportunities for tasting Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.”

Georg, son of Claus, launched Vinum which was an immediate success: light, reasonably priced glasses. Maximilian Riedel, Georg’s son, the eleventh with the same name and the current boss, created the O series of glasses without stems. And also Superleggero and Veritas, lighter, mechanical, ultra-high performance glasses including a real champagne glass, wide then narrower which is, therefore, not a flute. Also egg-shaped glasses, ideal for the concentration and extraction of the flavours and aromas of each grape variety.

Today, Riedel makes a Bordeaux glass (Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet-Franc, Merlot), a more southern glass (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre), Riesling, a multifunctional glass for whites, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. There are very special champagne glasses, like the Krug - with a special order required.

A recognised fact: a Riedel glass enhances a wine when the tasting session (like ours) involves different glasses for one bottle.

This tradition of artisan craftsmanship perpetuated in Kufstein in the Austrian Tyrol with one glass-blowing manufacturing unit and several industrial units in Bavaria, represents 55 million glasses produced every year, around half a million of which are made from blown glass.

Riedel’s expertise is also the power to create glasses which enhance Coca Cola and Perrier. We believe them. But we prefer other kinds of bubbles.