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You’ve likely heard of Riedel for two reasons: firstly because their glassware is beautifully made, but secondly the company is one of the largest wine glass manufacturers in the world. Riedel’s extensive collections include both machine-made and hand-blown glassware, so there’s something for everyone at every price point.
We’re big fans of the brand and regularly use Riedel glassware for wine and cocktails at home. But the brand has so many great collections that it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. So we chatted with Maximilian Riedel, the 11th generation managing director of the 267-year company to get an explainer on some of his favorite collections:
“Released in 1973 and designed by my grandfather Claus J. Riedel (9th generation), this series changed glassware forever,” Riedel says. “It created an entirely new category when it became the first collection of varietal specific wine glasses. By working with wine experts and experienced tasters, Claus became the first in history to discover how a wine glass bowl shape and size affects how wine is perceived and enjoyed. By adopting the Bauhaus design principle of ‘form follows function,’ he tailored each wine glass shape to enhance the characteristics of each grape varietal. As a result, the wine showed more depth and balance. His work has revolutionized the appearance of stemware as we know it and continues to inform our approach to glassware design today.”
“Influenced by my grandfather’s revolutionary work with the Riedel Sommeliers collection, my father, Georg J. Riedel (10th generation) created the innovative Riedel Vinum collection in 1986,” Riedel says. “This was the first machine-made varietal specific glassware series, which he designed to significantly reduce production costs. Ultimately, this made varietal specific wine glasses more affordable so more wine enthusiasts could enjoy them. Today, Riedel Vinum is still our best-selling collection.”
“We introduced the machine-blown Riedel Performance Collection in 2018, which was our first series of glassware to feature bowls with a light optic impact,” Reidel says. “Through our extensive research, we found that increasing the inner surface area of a wine glass not only looks visually appealing, but allows the wine to really open up, showcasing its full aroma and flavors. For this reason, we call these glasses the ultimate ‘loudspeakers’ for wine.”
“Our Riedel Veloce glasses, which launched in 2022, both look and feel handmade, but they are actually machine-made,” Riedel says. “Riedel fans may notice a resemblance to our earlier Extreme Collection, which was our first machine-produced, diamond-shaped series. Recognizing the revolution of modern wines, we adapted glass shapes for cabernet sauvignon/merlot, as well as for riesling. These glasses are taller than those in our Extreme collection and have a thinner stem and finer bowls. I selected the name “Veloce,” which means “fast” in Italian, in reference to the modern machine technology that makes it possible to produce this glass quickly and in large quantities, while still maintaining the look and feel of a handmade vessel.”
Now that you’ve had your Riedel wine glass crash course, here are some of our personal favorites. Depending on your flavor preferences and the wines you sip the most, these glasses are a great place to start when building your collection.
Universal White Wine: Riedel Ouverture Wine Wine
This glass is designed to highlight a variety of white wines, and the price point is perfect for people who are just starting their collection or don’t want to be too precious with their glassware. This is an excellent everyday glass for dinners at home, backyard hands and just about any other occasion.
Universal Red Wine: Riedel Wine Friendly Red Wine
Functional and versatile, these glasses were made to bring out the aromas and balance the tannins of all your favorite red wines. Not only are they made from crystal for everyday luxury, but they’re dishwasher safe for easy cleanup (as are many of Riedel’s glasses, by the way).
Universal Rosé Wine: Riedel Veloce Rosé
There are few glasses more elegant than Riedel’s Veloce Rosé glass. The paper-thin design and elongated stem feel wonderful in-hand (though be careful because these ones are quite fragile), and the shape helps to balance rosé’s higher acidity and bring forward fruit notes in dry wines.
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Champagne: Riedel Veritas Champagne Wine Glass
Sure, flutes are beautiful, and they are made to showcase the beautiful bubbles in a glass of sparkling wine. But because the flute has such a narrow, cylindrical shape, it can suppress some of Champagne’s beautiful aromas. That’s why we love the egg-shaped design of the Riedel Veritas Champagne Wine Glass. The wider design allows those heavenly aromas to come through, and it even has a “sparkling point” to help those bubbles pop.
Chardonnay: Riedel Veloce Chardonnay
Chardonnay is one of the most popular wine varietals in the United States, so chances are, you’re drinking it at home. And have you ever seen a glass this beautiful? The Veloce Chardonnay glass is designed to highlight the aromas of full-bodied white wines, so you could also use it for Chablis and white Burgundy.
Sauvignon Blanc: Riedel Performance Sauvignon Blanc
Whether you’re a fan of grassy, mineral-rich sauvignon blancs from Marlborough or the rich barrel-aged versions from Bordeaux, this glass is perfect for sipping this elegant white wine. The bowl is designed with a light optic impact that increases its inner surface area, which opens up the wine and better highlights its aromas.
Riesling: Riedel Winewings Riesling
Rieslings are known for their high acidity, residual sugar (which is sometimes quite minimal) and fruit-forward notes. No matter the style, Reidel’s Winewings Riesling glass is designed with a flat bottom to emphasize fruit and floral notes, and the greater surface area means more intense aromas. The shape also helps to balance a riesling’s acidity and sugar.
Pinot Noir: Riedel Performance Pinot Noir
Not only is this hand-blown glass stunning, but its eye-catching design was made to highlight lighter-bodied red wines. The tulip shape and flared lip balance acidity and temper the alcohol so all of pinot noir’s lush fruity notes come through. It’s a perfect glass for both Old World (think Burgundy) and New World pinot noirs, as well as Beaujolais, barbaresco, barolo and even rosé Champagne.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot: Riedel Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
If full-bodied, tannic reds are the name of the game in your house, you can’t go wrong with this glass for all of your favorite bottles. The large goblet highlights fruit-forward notes and balances tannins for easy, sophisticated sipping.
Syrah/Shiraz: Riedel Winewings Syrah
Lovers of a little spice in their wine are likely fans of syrah, and the Winewings Syrah glass is perfect for sipping the medium-bodied red. Again, the flat-bottomed design increases surface area, which allows the wine’s bouquet to fully develop. It also balances the earthy, spicy, toasted notes and smooths out the tannins of a typical syrah.
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