Let me introduce you to a wine legend, Max Riedel.
Max took the reins in 2002 to become the CEO of the Riedel Crystal of North America brand (at the tender age of 25). He has since been reinventing the ‘mouth-blown, hand-cut’ philosophy and has single-handedly founded multiple game-changing designs to suit the modern at-home entertainer and wine enthusiast alike. His stunning Instagram will teach you quite a bit about the world of wine and glassware.
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It’s the art of decanting wine❤️ In this case it is a 97 PTS @wine_advocate rated magnum of The 2009 Proprietary Blend #Pluribus which boasts stunning concentration, depth and power 👍🏻. Tar, incense, graphite, plums 😍 and grilled herbs all flow from this dark, sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. The balance of fruit, tannin and acidity is masterful. The Pluribus is always the most intense of the #BOND wines. The wine must be decanted it being still very young and tight. Best served in the #riedelperformance #cabernetsauvignon #wineglass from @riedel_official . . . . @willharlan @bondwinery #myriedel #myriedelmoment #riedel #wineexperience @ungerweine @napavintners @napa_valley_grapegrowers #springmountain #napavalley #california #maximilianriedel @hermes
As a total wine nerd and glassware lover, I was excited to get his perspective on all things wine. I mean, in my humble opinion, he has one of the best jobs in the world! He travels the globe educating consumers and the trade about how important glassware is in the world of wine. Max says their key consumer is the millennial wine drinker (that’s you and me!) and that people should really be showcasing great glassware more in their homes while they are at home entertaining. Ever heard of “Winetertainment”? Showing off your wine and your flare with wine theatre is fun for any true wine enthusiast.
1756 was Riedel’s inaugural year – the brand is now in its eleventh-generation of glass manufacturing. Riedel has set the standard for glass mastery in Europe, and quite honestly the world. In fact, the EU is where glass blowing techniques dominate. The most famous example comes out of the Venetian island of Murano that attracts tourist’s yearlong with a distinct collectable style. These beautiful hand-blown works of art usually take the form of colourful figurines, beads and vases. Known as Venetian crystal around the world, this decorative style reinforces the notion that your grandma clung to. You know, the kind of crystal that stayed in the hutch year-round and was purely ornamental. That’s a far cry from the brand that Maximilian Riedel is trying to reinforce. That may have been the Riedel heritage since conception, but now, glassblowing has and always will be a very complex trade. An art as old as time, The Riedel family name used to be associated with glass traders in Vienna, but they steadily expanded from their family roots as Sudeten Germans in the Czech Republic to become one of the biggest players in the EU crystal game. A family-owned and operated company with a reach spanning multiple continents, they are thriving and currently leading their industry dominating the sphere with some of the most useful and wonderful decanters and glassware.
“Historically there has been an influx of entertainment costs. With more options available, fine dining at home is becoming less and less in the consumer eye of interest.” People are eating out, buying designer handbags and buying into the concept of what Maximilian calls ‘under the table wealth’ – no longer is luxury at home the forefront and focus on what you see, money is spent on luxury products accenting personal lifestyle choices.
In today’s millennial landscape, living the ‘wine lifestyle’ has become a part of our everyday living. People are making wine, travelling for wine and have generally become amateur wine critics as they explore and identify with particular brands. In 2004, Max created the now iconic ‘O series’ wine glasses to solve the problem of modern entertaining in a minimal space environment. Forget the white linens and double set silverware: the ‘O series’ brought stem-less and stackable glassware to the forefront, without compromising quality (personally, I own a lot of these and use them to drink with ease while watching Netflix in bed).
When I asked Max what his favourite advice for wine drinkers is, he said “Decant, Decant, Decant“, no matter what the wine or time you’re drinking it, decanting your wine is a great way to add flare (and oxygen) to your wine to open up the aromas and allow it to taste better. From Champagne to Chardonnay to all types of red wines, he wants us all to leverage the art of decanters in our wine lifestyles and I couldn’t agree more.
Where millennial wine lovers flock to the ‘O series’, more mature palates prefere the signature decanters that come in 40 different shapes and sizes, customizable to the person. In 2008, Max single-handedly developed the ‘double-decanting’ technology to enhance this very personal wine experience. This ground-breaking invention was implemented in many of his designs that bare his signature including the best-selling ‘Eve’: a cobra-snake shaped decanter that allowed the trend to flourish. Prior to his invention, ‘double-decanting’ was limited to bottle-to-bottle transfer. This method of decanting allows for maximum airflow in one vessel. As a result of inventions like these, Riedel is paving the way for continued heritage and is truly an old brand with a young heart.
You can find a lot of Riedel glassware at Winners and Homesense – it’s my favourite place to shop for great glassware and decanters.