Riedel (glass manufacturer)
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Established in Bohemia in 1756, the company has been owned by the same family for more than 250 years. Georg Riedel (tenth generation) and Maximilian Riedel (eleventh generation) head up the €265 million per year glass business.
Riedel is the originator of the concept of having glasses with characteristics designed to enhance types of wines. These range from the short, narrow-mouthed port glass, holding around 250 mL, to the balloon-shaped Burgundy glass, capable of holding an entire bottle of wine. The shapes are alleged to direct the wine to different parts of the mouth, emphasizing the best characteristics of the wine.
Another characteristic of Riedel glasses is that they are designed to hold a small amount of wine relative to the volume of the glass, allowing the aroma of the wine to collect in the bowl. Typically a normal "glass of wine" will occupy about a third or less of a Riedel stem glass.
In 2004 Riedel acquired the F X Nachtmann Group and, with it, one of its biggest rivals at the time, Spiegelau.
The Sommeliers line was introduced in 1973 initially with 10 sizes. The Burgundy Grand Cru glass (which holds 37 ounces) was developed in 1958 and is displayed in the New York Museum of Modern Art.
In 2004, Gourmet Magazine reported that "Studies at major research centers in Europe and the U.S. suggest that Riedel’s claims are, scientifically, nonsense." The article states further evidence from Yale researcher Linda Bartoshuk, saying that the idea of the "tongue map," claimed by Riedel to be an important part of their research, does not exist. According to Bartoshuk, “Your brain doesn’t care where taste is coming from in your mouth ... And researchers have known this for thirty years.”