Prosecco is the new champagne


Maximilian Riedel, the biggest wine glass producer in the world, has a lot to say about how wine should be enjoyed


The 15th generation descendant of the Riedels, wine glass producers since 1680, is an elegant yet sharp man. He does not like to joke when wine and suitable receptacles are concerned.

My family has been producing wine glasses for centuries. But the real turn for the company came from my grandfather Klaus. Klaus Riedel was the first one who understood that the perfect wine glass must be colourless and have a certain shape, one for every kind of wine, in order to enhance the characteristics of that particular wine. We have a portfolio of 300 different glasses, which could be reduced to 80, if we take out some repetitions. The perfect wine glass collection should be made up of at least 80 pieces… and no less.


This means most families will drink wine in the wrong type of glass for life…If we want to be fussy, yes, it’s correct. A wine glass is like a golf club. If you want to play golf to perfection, you need the appropriate club, don’t you? A club that suits the course, the weight, the shot and so on. Everyone has a favourite wine, which they drink more readily than others, be it a chardonnay, a merlot or a riesling. My suggestion, then, is to choose the perfect glass for one’s favourite wine, in order to enjoy it at its best.

What goes into designing a wine glass? Do you commission it to famous designers? If by famous you mean the “star” of design, absolutely not. We do sensory workshops where wine experts work alongside our technicians and designers. The goal is to create a technically perfect glass, not simply a pretty one.

 Is a wine glass like a dress, which enhances the body shape of the wearer? I’d rather compare the glass to a pair of shoes. To be precise to a pair of hiking boots. It’s of paramount importance to wear the right ones if we want to climb a mountain or tramp through muddy terrain.

In all the countries where you export your products, where do you find people who pay close attention in choosing the right glass? We produce 60 million glasses and we export them to 130 countries.  The USA has perhaps the most sophisticated customers, followed by the Japanese.

I suppose you must have in your collection a glass dedicated solely to Prosecco, which has become so fashionable and popular to drink? Of course we do. It’s not a flute, as many would think. But it’s a type of glass that we have studied for Krug champagne. It could also be used for white wine. Drinking champagne (and Prosecco) in flutes or cups is a mistake. which needs urgent attention.

So what you are saying is that Prosecco is at the same level as champagne when it comes to tasting and drinking it? You said it…

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