Why Riedel is the stem that wine lovers reach for

Maximilian J. Riedel still recalls the day that Robert Mondavi came to visit his father, Georg.

It was back in the 1980s, and the legendary California vintner had already been making and tasting some of the world’s finest wines for four decades. Even so, Mondavi was flushed with a new discovery.

“I have never tasted my wine in such a beautiful way,” Mondavi said. Which meant: Mondavi had just tasted his wine in a piece of Riedel stemware.

“When people put their nose into a big glass,” Maximilian Riedel explains, “it’s like the key to the universe—like looking into a big telescope.” Such talk might seem like marketing bluster, but in the wine world, it is gospel. Fifty-four years ago, Riedel Crystal revolutionized wine drinking with a radical approach to glassware and, because of that approach, has dominated the high end of the category ever since. As international wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has written: “The effect of these [Riedel] glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make.”

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