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One way to take a breather and be in the moment is by enjoying a qualitative drink, preferably in a stylish environment, with great company. But what matters as well is the glass you pour it in. Most of us know that white wine requires a differently shaped glass than red wine, and that a champagne flute has its narrow shape to preserve the bubbles. You won’t serve a pint of beer in a cognac glass either, or a brandy in a highball glass.
The Austrian company Riedel takes this philosophy a few steps further. The family business – which saw the light in 1678, with the first Riedel logo registered in 1895 – develops its wine glasses not only with great sensibility for design, but the company also takes its cues from the world’s greatest palates. A wine’s bouquet, colour and taste is conveyed by the shape of a glass – reason enough to diversify wine glasses based on the scientific explanations for this. Riedel has discovered that the grape variety is the key factor in this process, determining the relationship between fruit, acidity, tannin and alcohol. The shapes Riedel created on this foundation had the effect of improving the wine experience of even the most expert connoisseurs.
Starting as a family trading luxury glassware in northwest Bohemia, then a world center in the trade of crystal glass, Johann Christoph Riedel traveled around until 1723, when he was tragically murdered. His sons and grandsons took continued the business, married into wealthy glass families and ultimately settled in Austria.
A 9thgeneration offshoot, Claus J. Riedel had the luminous idea to change stemware to traditional coloured and cut glass to plain, unadorned, thin blown, long stemmed for wineglasses, gaining immediate recognition from sophisticated customers and museums. A new era had begun, that took into account the effect of shapes on the perception of alcoholic beverages – even the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired Riedel pieces for its permanent collection.
Today, Georg J. Riedel is at the head of Riedel Glas Austria. Widely known for their wine-friendly and varietal-specific glass collections, Riedel continues to lead the sector through various innovations.
It’s possible to visit this seminal glassware company and experience the fascinating world of wine glass production – an inside look at the mouth blown and handmade process, only a hour-and-a-half drive from the Arthotel Blaue Gans in Salzburg. A daytrip worth getting a taste of.