He is the heir to an eleven generation crystal dynasty. He has helped to make the word Riedel synonymous with wine and its appreciation in North America, appearing in the pages of the New Yorker Magazine, The Financial Times and on camera with Martha Stewart.
He stands in an airport lounge waiting for a flight from Linz to Narita, wearing a rabbit printed orange tie and matching pocket square- spotless white shirt- blue suit- and tells us what it’s like to be thirty eight and the C.E.O. of a family owned company, founded in 1756. This is not an advertisement for The Bachelor. Maximilian Riedel is happily married to his Brazilian wife Rosana. They are the proud parents of Franz Joseph (#12), born last year.
.Would you consider yourself a right or left brain thinker? There is satisfaction combining these two elements. I do not see myself as a designer. I am a creator and craftsman. I work only with one material-glass. It is a challenging material. You have to have an understanding of physics. The idea that I have my limitations in the understanding of the making of the product helps to push glass-makers to do the impossible.
Claus Joseph Riedel, Maximilian’s grandfather, earned the family their first spot in the Museum of Modern Art’s (Moma) archives for the Exquisit Stemware Collection in 1958. This was a precursor to the Sommeliers Collection that put Riedel on the map for wine specific glasses in 1973. They are still mouth blown and made by hand in Austria.
What are your thoughts on Millennials (or Gen Z) and the future of wine appreciation? In 2000 the North American consumer was not addicted to wine or the art of wine. Now, there are amazing wines made in Canada and in China. It is a great time. Wine is food friendly and with the rise of food culture it makes me happy to think about the future-the future is bright.
Jackie’s thought: “By changing the shape of a glass to direct each varietal of wine to specific areas of the palate not only enhanced the taste experience, it revolutionized the industry.”
Maximilian has his own share of awards for the game changing stemless “O” glasses (also a part of the Moma’s collection), the Red Dot Award for the Swan decanter in 2009 and the Grand Prix de Table at the 2011 Maison & Objet show in Paris for the Mamba decanter.
“For a nail you need a hammer. For wine you need a Riedel glass.” THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE
What’s on your mind now? I have been focused on being the Canadian and American ambassador for over a decade. I have lived on two continents and had a great education and never thought about anything else but to be the next generation to lead the company. It is great to be the next generation, not the last, and I look forward to passing on the torch.
Watch a video on the incredible history of the Riedel family.