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.”

Wine of Moldova offers a glimpse of the future with its game-changing AI tool

The Moldovan wine industry, following its reception at ProWein, has entered a critical juncture. After the successful unveiling of two wines produced with the support of Artificial Intelligence, key stakeholders will seek further collaboration with the nation’s burgeoning tech and design sectors in the coming years, using innovation to strengthen their global competitiveness.

According to Wine of Moldova, this new landmark AI project involves a strategic partnership between several institutions: the National Office of Vine and Wine, the creative media technology hub, Mediacor, and the Technical University of Moldova. The goal is to set a global precedent for the unification of Artificial Intelligence and human expertise, in addition to facilitating ongoing development via the use of new technologies; $500 million has been earmarked for vineyard expansion, technological innovation, and production capacity.

Robert Joseph, consultant and author, commented: “A changing climate – which means far greater vintage variation as well as higher temperatures – requires innovative solutions. This project gives wine producers access to the nation’s growing AI expertise that could be a game-changer.”

At ProWein this year, a white blend of Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala and Viorica and a red wine Feteasca Neagra were presented to an international audience, both created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence.

The wine industry is essential to Moldova’s economy, contributing around 3% of GDP and 8% of total exports, contributing to the livelihoods of over 50,000 families in rural areas. Premium labels are exported to 72 different countries – 55 percent of the country’s total exports are shipped to the EU.

“Moldova boasts a growing number of small new wineries, with young winemakers, while its larger ones are investing in vineyards and cellar equipment to produce more premium wines,” said Diana Lazar, AI Wine project lead.

Like every other wine-producing country, Moldova faces a range of challenges. However, stakeholders are in a strong position to meet these difficulties head on, taking full advantage of the solutions presented by future tech. A new era of cooperation between winegrowers and digital innovators has begun as Moldova offers valuable lessons for the rest of the world.

Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCDUwK3Nv7A

European Drinks Industry Unveils System For Developing E-Labelling

The CEEV – Européen des Entreprises Vins, and spiritsEUROPE have teamed up with QR code compliance solutions firm Scantrust, to unveil an updated version of the U-label labelling platform.

According to the groups, the strategic partnership will facilitate the easy creation of e-labels for both the wine, aromatised wine and spirits drinks.

The U-label by Scantrust aims to simplify compliance with the new EU labeling regulations for wineries in a cost-effective manner. Additionally, it assists spirits producers in advancing the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on consumer information, which was adopted in June 2019.

Empower Wine Producers
“When we conceived U-label, our goal was to empower European wine producers large and small with an affordable turnkey solution for navigating the new labeling regulations,” commented Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, CEEV Secretary General.

“This partnership with Scantrust represents a significant milestone in achieving that goal.”

In a statement, CEEV and spiritsEUROPE expressed their commitment to continue supporting and contributing their expertise in the wine and spirits industries to the U-label initiative.

The new U-label by Scantrust platform meets EU Regulation 2021/2117 requirements, including recent clarifications by the European Commission.

Comprehensive Information
“As European spirits producers, we are progressing fast in providing comprehensive, easily accessible consumer information via e-labels in combination with energy-information on-pack,” said Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.

U-label will allow spirits producers large and small to roll out state-of-the-art digital labelling solutions together with an experienced and reliable partner.

Taste-Driven AI Algorithms Enhance Wine Selections

For wine enthusiasts, choosing a bottle of wine can be challenging when scanning unfamiliar labels, while shopping. Questions that come to mind: What does it taste like? What was the last one I bought that tasted so good? Vivino, Hello Vino, Wine Searcher and other apps let wine buyers scan labels to get information about the wine and read reviews of others. These apps have been built from artificially intelligent algorithms.

Using taste or other sensory inputs as data sources is entirely new.

Now, scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the University of Copenhagen and Caltech have shown that you can add a new parameter to the algorithms that makes it easier to find a precise match for your own taste buds: Namely, people’s impressions of flavour.

“We have demonstrated that, by feeding an algorithm with data consisting of people’s flavour impressions, the algorithm can make more accurate predictions of what kind of wine we individually prefer,” says Thoranna Bender, a graduate student at DTU who conducted the study under the auspices of the Pioneer Centre for AI at the University of Copenhagen.

More accurate predictions of people’s favourite wines
The researchers held wine tastings during which 256 participants were asked to arrange shot-sized cups of different wines on a piece of A3 paper based upon which wines they thought tasted most similarly. The greater the distance between the cups, the greater the difference in their flavour. The method is widely used in consumer tests. The researchers then digitized the points on the sheets of paper by photographing them.

The data collected from the wine tastings was then combined with hundreds of thousands of wine labels and user reviews provided to the researchers by Vivino, a global wine app and marketplace. Next, the researchers developed an algorithm based on the enormous data set.

“The dimension of flavour that we created in the model provides us with information about which wines are similar in taste and which are not. So, for example, I can stand with my favourite bottle of wine and say: I would like to know which wine is most similar to it in taste – or both in taste and price,” says Thoranna Bender.

Professor and co-author Serge Belongie from the Department of Computer Science, who heads the Pioneer Centre for AI at the University of Copenhagen, adds:

“We can see that when the algorithm combines the data from wine labels and reviews with the data from the wine tastings, it makes more accurate predictions of people’s wine preferences than when it only uses the traditional types of data in the form of images and text. So, teaching machines to use human sensory experiences results in better algorithms that benefit the user.”

Thoranna Bender points out that the researchers’ method can easily be transferred to other types of food and drink as well:

“We’ve chosen wine as a case, but the same method can just as well be applied to beer and coffee. For example, the approach can be used to recommend products and perhaps even food recipes to people. And if we can better understand the taste similarities in food, we can also use it in the healthcare sector to put together meals that meet with the tastes and nutritional needs of patients. It might even be used to develop foods tailored to different taste profiles.”
The researchers have published their data on an open server and can be used at no cost.

“We hope that someone out there will want to build upon our data. I’ve already fielded requests from people who have additional data that they would like to include in our dataset. I think that’s really cool,” concludes Thoranna Bender.

Key Facts:
1. Wine apps are using AI algorithms to assist users in selecting wines based on labels and reviews.
2. Researchers integrated people’s flavor impressions into the algorithms for more accurate wine recommendations.
3. This approach can be extended to beer, coffee, and personalized food recommendations, benefiting various industries.

Source: Neuroscience News

Announcing Liz Palmer is Guest Speaker at the 7th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism

I’m so thrilled to have been invited as a guest speaker at the upcoming 7th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism!!

The topics for the 7th Edition include “Inclusive, Sustainable and Digital Wine Tourism: Building Stronger Territorial Cohesion”

This yearly conference has become a leading international forum on trends, tools and opportunities to advance global wine tourism. It also provides opportunities for experts and professionals, as well as consolidated and emerging destinations in this tourism segment to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Since 2016, the Conference has highlighted the importance of wine tourism to the socio-economic development of destinations and has served as a platform to exchange experiences, identify good practices and promote wine tourism as a tool for sustainable development.

The 7th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism will be held November 22 – 24 in Logroño, Spain. Participants include government officials from international and national tourism administrations and organizations, regional and local authorities, international and national destination marketing organizations, UNWTO affiliate members, private sector representatives, wine estates, infrastructure providers and international academia.

I believe everyone in the wine tourism industry can certainly attest to Massimo Garavaglia, Italian Minister of Tourism, statement at last year’s conference, in Alba Italy: “Wine tourism is much more than just selling wine, which clearly is important.  When you sell a bottle of wine, you are selling the territory behind that bottle, the culture of that territory, the history of the men (and women) who designed these landscapes with the rows of vines.”

I have the extreme privilege of sharing insights on the topic of:

Unlocking the Benefits of Digitalization
Digital transformation can revolutionize and enhance wine tourism experiences, provide data and insights, optimize marketing strategies, and foster sustainable growth.

Conference Link: https://www.unwto.org/7-UNWTO-Global-Conference-Wine-Tourism

Hope to see you there!

Liz Palmer