Riedel Glas Austria, The Inventors of the Modern Wine Glass!

Wine and Riedel Glas Austria
are inseperatable!

Todays wine glasses wouldn’t have the shape and design without Riedel Glas Austria. Prof. Claus Joseph Riedel was the first who recognized the relationship between the shape of a glass and the drinking experience of a specific wine in that glass. 

Although glass itself exists now for about 7000 years and the material has been used hundreds of years for drinkware, nobody ever thought about a wine glass in the way Claus Riedel did: The true inventor of the functional wine glass.

Riedel Glas Austria started it’s life in Northern Bohemia in the end of the 17th century. Johann Christoph Riedel started at that time as a glass merchant and since then the name Riedel has been connected to glass. Around 1930 the company was known to the world as a leading manufacturer of perfume flacons and colour overlaid gift items, beads, chandeliers and chandelier parts. Walter Riedel led the company in those days.

Serving wine Riedel style

Walter Riedel inherited the mechanical genius of his father Joseph Riedel and developed extremely advanced mould techniques. During WWII the glass companies were forced by the Nazi’s to change there production and the scientist Riedel did in those days some remarkable work on glass radar parts. 
After the fall of Berlin in 1945, the Russians forced Walter Riedel to work for them. 
The family lost all their possessions, houses and factories, in Polaun, Bohemia, to the Czech Republic.

Prof. Claus Joseph Riedel
The inventor of the modern wine glass

After ten years of prisonership in Russia, Walter Riedel went in 1955 to Austria. There, him and his family were welcomed by the Swarovski family. The two families knew each other very well, it’s a small world the world of glass!!!, and Daniel Swarovski offered the Riedel family a new start. It was in Kufstein, Austria where the new factory was opened. From that moment things went fast.

It appeared to Claus Riedel, the son of Walter, that the heavy, thick walled, cut and otherwise heavily decorated glasses used for wine in those days were designed to enhance the tables more than they did good to the wine. He started experimenting in 1957 and he found that the perception of the wine’s taste like bouqet, taste, balance and finish, were highly effected by the shape of the glass. He created thin blown, light and long-stemmed glasses which were totally the opposite of what was trendy in those days. His approach succeeded and Riedel Glas Austria changed the concept of the wine glass forever.

Ongoing research led in 1973 to the introduction of the lead crystal Sommeliers-series in which each glass was finetuned to a specific grape. The sommeliers glasses were worldwide recognized as the ultimate wine experience – a wine‘s best friend. 

Georg Riedel between his wine glasses

The son of Claus Riedel, Georg joined the company in 1973. Under his direction, Riedel Glas Austria became a world wide operating company. Georg Riedel founded a network of Riedel-owned subsidiaries, starting in 1979 by opening Riedel USA and continuing the expansions to Canada in 1992, Germany 1996, Japan 2000, UK 2001, and in 2006 Riedel Development was founded, specializing on private label offers.  

In 2004, Riedel Glas Austria bought the German-based companies Nachtmann and Spiegelau. This brought three famous brands (Riedel, Nachtmann, Spiegelau) under one name and the company was now one of the largest producers of quality glass in Europe. And as far as wine is concerned.....well, Riedel Glas Austria is the world’s leading wine glass company. 

Sommeliers Black Tie

One can write pages full about Riedel wine glasses. Each glass will be praised by wine connaisseurs for a specific wine. It sounds almost as blasphemy if you talk about decorating Riedel glassware though if you keep it to accents like the stem only or the stem and the foot then you don't ruin the glass and the wine experience will not be affected. This can be seen from the Sommeliers Black Tie series, where only the stem is colored black.

Another special innovative design of Riedel Glas Austria we would like to put in the spotlights: O........... yes just like that O.
O is the first specific wine tumbler in the histroy of the wine glasses. The tumbler, used for centuries as an allround drinking vessel, became in 2004 with the O-series a glass from which one could experience wine in the tradition of Riedel Glas Austria. And one advantage over the stylish thin stemmed cousins: no stem which will break easily!

"O" the stemless wine glass