In conversation with Mark Baulderstone, Managing Director for RIEDEL New Zealand and Australia, he talked about the intricacies of glassware and how it can affect a wine tasting experience.
As Baulderstone explained, RIEDEL is known for their grape varietal specific glassware—the size and shape of the bowl is designed to suit particular wine varieties. “Our glasses are all about bringing balance to wine, so you can experience all the nuances as the winemaker intended.” RIEDEL sets itself apart from the competition through the use of the world’s best palates throughout their processes. “We don’t make something up and sell it with the hope it works; we test it over and over again.” REIDEL host sensory workshops with top sommeliers, winemakers, and masters of wine, and take their expertise and turn it into products for your enjoyment.
So what is it that influences the shape and style of the glass? “Without getting too technical, it’s all about the wine’s DNA. Our glasses don’t change the wine; they present them in different ways based around the shape and size of the glass.” Baulderstone explained that RIEDEL’s sensory workshops put one particular variety of wine in as many as 20 different shapes and go through a process of elimination to find the right shape. “The wine is in charge,” Baulderstone said. “We just go on a hunt for the style of glass that suits.”
The impact that quality glassware can have on a dining experience is not just aesthetic. “Properly designed glassware can help you elevate the customer experience, and should suit the look of your venue. It should also be able to withstand busy service day after day.” Many venues cannot afford to handwash and replace glassware regularly, and RIEDEL understands that. This is why their products undergo rigorous testing to meet industry standards.
When looking for glassware, Baulderstone identified three main influencing factors: the wine served, the look, and the price point. “Our current CEO, 11th generation family member Maximilian J. Riedel, introduced the Restaurant range over 15 years ago and it has had a massive impact on the depth of choice for on-premise venues. We have a team of engineers ensuring our manufacturing technology is constantly evolving and getting more efficient, which means better price points for the same high RIEDEL quality standards.”
Although an industry steeped in tradition, glassware is not immune to trends and phases. Baulderstone noted that there is a currently an ongoing phase of coloured or decorated glassware passing through, something that a usually wary RIEDEL have explored briefly. They released a line of glasses with coloured stems that look amazing on the table, but they all feature RIEDEL’s tested and proven bowl shapes. However, as Baulderstone noted quite plainly, RIEDEL doesn’t sacrifice functionality for the sake of a trend.
Why, then, should a restaurant invest in quality glassware? For a start, quality glassware, along with crockery and cutlery, is one of the first things that diners see when sitting down. Making a lasting impression can carry on into the first sip of a drink, or the first bite of an entree.
“As we always say, when we host events for the trade: we obsess over the details so you can put the best product on your tables to compliment your offering.”