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).

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles Announces Results of its 2024 Red and White Session

The 31st edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wrapped up last week in Guanajuato. The results are officially announced, with the host country, Mexico, breaking into the top 5 in terms of the number of medals won. China is also making a strong showing with significant progress, and South Africa continues its upward trend.

Uruguay and Romania have taken the two major international revelations with a red wine and a white wine, respectively. The winners include wines from all five continents, encompassing both historical wine-producing countries and some more surprising origins like Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and Peru.

Here are the Revelations:

From June 7 to 9, the world’s largest traveling wine competition brought together experts from across the international wine sector in Guanajuato, Mexico, to taste nearly 7,500 red and white wines from 42 countries. All wines were blind tasted by a panel of wine experts (buyers, journalists, wine merchants, oenologists, etc.) carefully selected by the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, representing 45 nationalities. Of all the wines presented, only 30% will take home a medal.

“It is a real satisfaction to have gathered so many wines for this new edition despite a challenging global context. It proves that producers still want to place their trust in us, and we are honored by it!” said Thomas Costenoble, director of the CMB.

International Revelations
The highest-scoring white wine of this year’s competition is the Issa Chardonnay Barrique 2022 – a Romanian white wine produced in Transylvania by Crama La Salina. The highest-rated red wine comes from Uruguay – the Balasto 2017 produced by Everest Wines and Spirits.

The “No Low” Revelations
One of the new features of this 2024 edition was the creation of the Revelations for the best no-low wines (completely or partially de-alcoholized wines, de-alcoholized wine-based beverages, and others). The winners are Divin – Sauvignon Blanc 0.0% 2023 from Divin No-Low in Loire (France) and the Portuguese “Lower alcohol” wine Lagosta from Enopnort Wines.

Organic and wooded Revelations
The Sylvain Trophy, awarded each year to the highest-scoring wooded wine, goes in 2024 to an Italian wine, Starderi 2020 from Collina Serragrilli. The highest-rated organic wine is from Spain for the second consecutive year: this time, it is a wine from Navarra, Arínzano Merlot Agricultura Biológica 2019 produced by Arinzano.

Bordeaux in the lead
Among the major French wine-producing regions, Bordeaux is the most represented and rewarded region in the competition with 189 medal-winning wines. Gironde also takes home the French Red Wine Revelation with Château Terres Blanches Cuvée Carpe Diem 2022. Another Grand Gold Medal goes to a Bordeaux wine, Château Le Bonalguet Cosecha 2023 from Bonalgue Saint-Germain.

China and Mexico stand out, South Africa progresses
These three nations continue to demonstrate their dynamism in the numbers. Of the 663 wines presented by Mexican producers, 152 won medals (including 9 Grand Gold Medals), a record. South African wines continue to improve in quality with a significant increase in the number of Grand Gold Medals (6) and Gold Medals (35). As for China, no less than 40% of the wines presented won a medal, including 6 Grand Gold Medals and 83 Gold Medals!

This sets the stage for the next Red & White Wines Session of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which will take place in June 2025 in Ningxia, China. It will be the second time the Concours is held in China, following the 2018 edition.

The results can be found here: https://results.concoursmondial.com/en/results/2024

Stag’s Leap partners with Cirque du Soleil

Stags’ Leap Winery, one of the oldest and most storied wineries in Napa Valley, and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, a world leader in artistic entertainment, announced last week an exclusive partnership that will see Stags’ Leap Winery featured at Cirque du Soleil’s United States Big Top Shows for one year beginning next month. The Official Wine of Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows in the United States, Stags’ Leap Winery brings more than 130 years of winemaking tradition to the circus stage.

“Stags’ Leap Winery is named after a mythical stag who eluded capture by leaping into the Palisades mountains located behind our storied winery in the Stags’ Leap District of Napa Valley,” says Brand Director Megan O’Connor. “Our stag is a symbol of courage and freedom, emboldening everyone to explore all that life has to offer in the pursuit of pleasure. I cannot think of a more perfect partner than Cirque du Soleil, whose performances have transformed live entertainment by encouraging all of us to dream the unimaginable.”

In addition to concessions serving Stags’ Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, there will be a Stags’ Leap Winery lounge, in select cities. As part of the partnership, audience members can also expect to see Stags’ Leap Winery on multimedia branding throughout each venue, as well as in collaborative social content promoted across both brands’ social media channels.

“We are excited to welcome Stags’ Leap Winery as a partner with Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows and look forward to our United States Big Top fans experiencing the premium wine offerings on-site,” says Lauren Hart, Head of Partnership Strategy at Cirque du Soleil.

For the official list of show dates and locations, please visit cirquedusoleil.com

To learn more about Stag’s Leap: stagsleap.com

Bordeaux Wines Unveils New Global Campaign

Bordeaux Wines is excited to bring the extraordinary and unexpected diversity of its region to the fore with a dynamic new international campaign. Designed to shine a light on the region’s exceptional men and women, their commitment to sustainability, the terroirs and of course their wines, the campaign gives all those who work in the Bordeaux wine industry a loud, shared voice.

“We have evolved, using our differences to meet the requirements of the world today. Bordeaux wines are all about unexpected encounters, exciting conversations and new opportunities. We are multi-faceted. We are creative and discerning. We are united as one brand and we are ready to be (re)discovered.” – The winemakers and merchants of Bordeaux

Shaking Things Up: A Multi-Platform, Global Reveal
Faces, landscapes and wines, winegrowers, merchants, restaurateurs, wine shop managers – everyone involved in Bordeaux wines has come together to show people exactly what Bordeaux is all about: a hub of diversity, creativity and innovation that’s waiting to be shared. It’s time to Join the Bordeaux Crew. The creative will be unveiled at trade fairs around the world from February on, and appear in digital campaigns in France, Belgium, the USA and the UK before being rolled out in Japan and China in 2025, serving as the foundation to building a digital community. In the UK, it will also feature at The Big Feastival in August.

Coming Together: A Campaign Built by, for and with the Sector
Despite the many challenges that its vineyard has faced in recent years, the Bordeaux wine community has reinvented itself to share its unique story. Winegrowers and merchants have worked closely with creative experts to ensure that this campaign truly reflects their identity: a group of people with character and determination, driving innovation, all united around a collective commitment to sustainable viticulture with the consumer always at its core.

Telling the Story: A Chronicle of Individuality, Epitomized by Its Men and Women
Conceived like a chronicle, this campaign takes its roots in the terroirs of each appellation (AOP) and is inspired by the environmental, societal and social commitments that go into each and every Bordeaux wine. Its protagonists are all local winegrowers and merchants, wine shop managers, chefs and sommeliers chosen to reflect the renewed energy of Bordeaux. The creative welcomes consumers into this passionate and fascinating community, inviting them to delve into the stories of Bordeaux’s men and women, terroirs and of course red, white, rosé, sweet and sparkling wines. This creative has been conceived not only to appeal to consumers, but also to encourage global wine professionals to reconsider and reinvigorate their relationship with Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Big Bottles 2024
The dynamic global program makes its mark on the USA’s East Coast with the popular Bordeaux Big Bottles campaign, which returns for its fifth edition this fall from October 10 – 31. This year, the campaign extends to New York state and New Jersey from its usual activation in New York City, with select restaurants and wine shops participating. The campaign will spotlight large-format, 3-Liter bottles from over 25 producers across the region to engage new and current consumers, allowing them to discover the modernity and diversity of Bordeaux.

For further information: www.bordeaux.com/us