An Exclusive Conversation with Maximilian Riedel, CEO and President of Riedel, by Liz Palmer

I am thrilled to conduct an in-person interview with Maximilian Riedel, the visionary CEO and President of Riedel, a company renowned globally for its innovative and high-quality glassware. Under Maximilian’s leadership, Riedel has continued to elevate the art of glassmaking, blending tradition with cutting-edge design to enhance our wine and spirits experience. In this exclusive conversation, Maximilian shares insights into the company’s journey, his personal inspirations, and the future of Riedel in the ever-evolving world of glassware craftsmanship. Let us delve into the mind of a leader who is redefining the way we savor our favorite beverages.

Company Vision and Strategy

Riedel has a long and storied history in the glassware industry. How do you balance tradition with innovation in your role as CEO?

“So, obviously, tradition is for me an orientation, but I see it in my back mirror, and sometimes it’s good and advisable to look into the back mirror, but it should never interfere with the cause of an entrepreneur.

We are in the present, we’re working for the future, and sometimes you also have to break with tradition to bring forward newness and excitement, and that’s exactly what I have been doing over the last 10 to 20 years.

So, I feel like I am in the midst, and I’m doing a good job in balancing them both.”

Product Development and Innovation

How does Riedel approach sustainability and environmental responsibility in its manufacturing processes?

“For us, this, of course, is a very important subject, especially since we live off raw materials, which are natural.

Lately, very challenging for any manufacturer in Europe because the cost for energy and raw materials has gone through the roof, and it’s challenging for us right now.”

Are there any upcoming products or innovations that you are particularly excited about?

“Always, but we remain creative, and every year we bring forward newness, and invest in our technology which allows us to bring forward products which are very unique to the market.”

Market and Industry Trends

How do you see the global market for luxury glassware evolving in the next 5 to 10 years?

“Amazing. I think we have not seen so much development like we did in the past 10 years.

Sadly, it’s coming to a halt because the wine industry is not booming anymore, and because of that, it’s a little bit challenging also for us as glassmakers because we are so connected.”

Personal Insights and Experiences

Growing up in a family business, what are some key lessons you learned from your father and mother?

“From my father and mother …everything, everything.

I’m in the business because of them.

They made it so exciting and so attractive to me that I wanted to join ever since, and the reason why I’m here is because of my parents.”

What motivates you both personally and professionally?

“Well, I’m living the dream.

I mean, who does not want to deal with wine and food and glass every day. I get to travel the world…. I get to meet very interesting people.

Also, thanks to social media, in my little environment, I’ve become a celebrity because of my passion for what I do.”

Future Outlook

What partnerships or collaborations are you currently exploring to expand Riedel’s reach and influence?

“Well, obviously we have a lot of partnerships with wine and champagne houses, but I think we need to look outside of that because we learned from Tiffany and other companies… right now partnerships with other companies, with other brands can be of great benefit so, we’re seeking for that.”

Maximilian Riedel’s Favorites

Let’s dive in and learn about your favorites.

What is your favorite Riedel Collection and why?

“I don’t have one because I love them all, otherwise I would discontinue them. I love them because of what they stand for and whatever comes handy, I use.”

What is your Favorite Decanter and why?

“Definitely the Ridel Eve Decanter, it’s one of many designs that I created… it’s my favorite.”

What is your favorite wine (if you had to choose one) and why?

“Don’t have one….It depends on the situation, depends on the momentum, depends on the people I’m with.

But, if it comes to champagne, I grew up with Dom Pérignon, and for sure it’s a wine I would look at.”

And lastly, my most important question [I also love vintage cars especially sport cars]…whilst your passion for wine runs deep, so does your love for collecting and driving your vintage sports cars on the track, through vineyards and through the European countryside, which car do you favour overall to drive through the vineyards?

Well, it’s similar to wine. I’m fortunate to have a few cars, and it’s also about the situation and the momentum. Cars are like beautiful pairs of shoes. You have one for every occasion, or you should have. I definitely have a passion for Porsche cars, and vintage Porsches with their air-cooled sound it’s very special.”

A Culinary Journey Through Basilicata by Chefs Davide Ciavattella and Ernesto Iaccarino at Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890

On Monday, June 17th, 2024, I had the profound pleasure of indulging in a meticulously curated menu by Chefs Davide Ciavattella and Ernesto Iaccarino at Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890, Toronto.

The restaurant’s design and ambiance were nothing short of exquisite, setting the stage for an unforgettable culinary experience for the invitation-only guests. The evening featured an eight-course dinner paired with exceptional Basilicata wines, all orchestrated by the talented Executive Chef Davide Ciavattella.

The dishes and wines highlighted products from the Basilicata (Vulture-Alto Bradano) region, highlighting exceptional olive oils, wines, cheeses, and the famous peperone crusco all introduced to Canada for the first time by the Local Action Group LUCUS and Citta Del’ Olio. These two esteemed associations, founded in 1994, are dedicated to uniting local producers who uphold the historical, cultural, and environmental values and traditional production methods of the region. The harmonious blend of flavors and the carefully selected wine pairings elevated the dining experience to new heights, celebrating the rich heritage and gastronomic excellence of Basilicata.

For further details: Città dell’Olio (Trmtv.it) (Associazione Nazionale Città dell’Olio) (Associazione Nazionale Città dell’Olio).

North America’s Six Top Wine Regions for a Cycling Getaway

For wine lovers who love the outdoors, combining the enjoyment of wine tasting with leisurely cycling through some of North America’s most picturesque vineyard regions offers a unique and wonderful experience.

Wine regions like Napa Valley, the Finger Lakes, and Niagara are not only renowned for their exquisite wines, but they also feature some of the most bicycle-friendly routes and amenities.

Here is a guide that takes you through these areas, promising lots of adventure, indulgence, and an appreciation of these wonderful wine regions: https://shorturl.at/zL08Z

Results are in for London Wine Fair’s “Judgement of London”

London Wine Fair’s Judgement of London took place this week, and the results are now in. 32 wines were tasted over a period of four hours by 21 judges, a selection of the UK’s best palates, two-thirds of which were either Masters of Wine or Master Sommeliers. The wines, all of which were decanted and served in Jancis Robinson X Richard Brendon glasses, were tasted in pairs under exam conditions: eight pairs of white wines, followed by eight pairs of red wines; each pairing comprised a European wine with their Rest of World counterpart, matched in terms of style. The judges scored each wine out of ten, which resulted in a grand total for each wine, and a final overall score for European vs. Rest of World.

The wines, amongst the best in the world, were selected by Sarah Abbott MW, MD of Swirl Wine Group and Ronan Sayburn MS, CEO of The Court of Master Sommeliers, who presented the results on Centre Stage with Hannah Tovey, Head of London Wine Fair earlier today (Tuesday afternoon). The key findings are as follows:

Top scoring white: Pegasus Bay Riesling, Bel Canto, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand 2011
Runner up: Polish Hill Riesling, Grosset, Clare Valley, Australia 2012
Top scoring red: Hermitage Rouge, Jean Louis Chave, Rhône, France, 2012
Runner up: Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France 2009
Top scoring wine: Pegasus Bay Riesling, Bel Canto, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand 2011
European wines: 2,621.5 points
Rest of World: 2,604.5 points
Overall winner: Europe
Difference: 0.65%

The purpose of Judgement of London was to give a snapshot of the fine wine landscape almost 50 years on from the original Judgement of Paris in 1976. Whilst California was the outright winner of the original Paris tasting, in 2024 –with a broader spectrum of wines to better reflect today’s fine wine scene – the results are almost too close to call, with less than a percentage point between the two “teams”.

Sarah Abbott MW commented: “The results from Judgement of London highlight that great wine can and does come from all corners of the world. Winemakers of these wines share so much in common, and the excitement and gratitude that these wines inspire unites and inspires us as a trade.”

Ronan Sayburn MS commented: “From the beginning, it was never about a winner or loser, and the results show that. 50 years ago, there was a definite difference in style; now it is a much more level playing field. The so-called New World were making wines which were for a cool climate style, but in a warm climate. And obviously they had a lot of success, but were they elegant? Since Judgement of Paris, the so-called New World has better adapted to their climates, clones, and what works well. It is no longer the underdog. All these wines tasted on their own are amongst the greatest in the world, and we were asking our judges to choose amongst them.”

Head of London Wine Fair, Hannah Tovey, commented: “The results could barely have been closer, and whilst that all points towards the equal footing of European and Rest of World wines in today’s fine wine market, it is also testament to the pairings selected by Ronan and Sarah. They were bang on in terms of matching. I would like to personally thank everyone involved in what was frankly a Herculean task; sourcing 32 of the world’s finest wines; Ronan and Sarah for their brilliant selections and management; and last but by no means least, the judges themselves, and their extraordinary palates.”

The full list of wines: https://shorturl.at/biZTy

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants 2024 Just Revealed

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants List 2024 paints a vibrant portrait of Canada’s culinary scene. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Canada’s 100 Best.

“The quality of our list and the publication we build around it is better than ever. The result is an asset to discriminating diners – locals and travellers alike,” said Jacob Richler. “It’s a great time to be dining out in Canada.”

How restaurants are selected?
A panel of 150 judges is assembled to vote for restaurants based on the complete dining experience: service, décor, the depth of the cellar — and, above all else, food quality. Each judge must vote for a minimum of three restaurants outside of their home region. The panel includes informed culinary enthusiasts, food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and other food-service professionals.

Here are some of the winners:

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST RESTAURANTS:

Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)
Edulis (Toronto, ON)
Alo (Toronto, ON)
20 Victoria (Toronto, ON)
Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)
Restaurant Pearl Morissette (Jordan Station, ON)
Published on Main (Vancouver, BC)
Beba (Montreal, QC)
Bar Kismet (Halifax, NS)
Kissa Tanto (Vancouver, BC)

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST NEW RESTAURANTS:

Marilena (Victoria, BC)
Casa Paco (Toronto, ON)
Sushi Yugen (Toronto, ON)
Bar Prima (Toronto, ON)
Sabayon (Montreal, QC)
Casavant (Montreal, QC)
Espace Old Mill (Stanbridge, QC)
Buvette Daphnée (Ottawa, ON)
Parapluie (Montreal, QC)
Magari by Oca (Vancouver, BC)

Other Awards go to:

Best New Restaurant (sponsored by Tourisme Montréal): Marilena Café + Raw Bar (Victoria, BC)

Best Restaurant (sponsored by Nespresso Professional): Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)

Best Sommelier team (sponsored by Lingua Franca): Vanya Filipovic and Alex Landry at Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)

Best Pastry Chef: Kenta Takahashi, Boulevard, Vancouver (3 TIME WINNER)

People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Uber Eats): Änkôr (Canmore, AB)

Best Destination Restaurant (sponsored by Champlain at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac): Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)

Best New Restaurant Design: Bar Prima (Toronto, ON)

The American Express Award for Community Leadership: Paul Toussaint at Kamúy (Montreal, QC)

BEST BARS

The 2024 issue also includes Canada’s 50 Best Bars – useful reviews on where to sip across the nation – including a focus on summer patios. 

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST BARS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE:

Bar Pompette (Toronto, ON)
Civil Liberties (Toronto, ON)
Cloakroom Bar (Montreal, QC)
Atwater Cocktail Club (Montreal, QC)
Bar Mordecai (Toronto, ON)
Library Bar at The Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, ON)
Dear Friend Bar (Dartmouth, NS)
The Keefer Bar (Vancouver, BC)
Cocktail Bar (Toronto, ON)
Proof (Calgary, AB)

Here is the link to all the winners:
https://canadas100best.com/