November 2019. Twenty of the leading vintners from the Austrian Zweigelt regions – Neusiedlersee DAC and Rubin Carnuntum – accepted the invitation of Maximilian J. Riedel, 11th generation CEO of the family business, to take part in a workshop at the PANNONEUM business and tourism school in Neusiedl am See. The goal was to develop a concept for the perfect Zweigelt glass and to review the functionality of the existing glass in two independent workshops. As Austria’s most widespread red grape variety, Blauer Zweigelt ranges from very young wines to strong wines matured in wooden barrels. This is why there were doubts as to whether a single glass would be able to cover that entire spectrum.
Zweigelt glass workshop setup
Following the successful Blaufränkisch workshop in 2017 and a workshop for Grüner Veltliner in 2018, Maximilian Riedel wanted to put the Zweigelt glass to the test in 2019.
In two workshops with Maximilian Riedel, the participating vintners from Neusiedlersee DAC and Rubin Carnuntum tested various glass shapes from different series and selected their preferred glasses. Varietal wines from each region were blind tasted. There were 10 glasses at the start of the process. In the course of four flights for each glass, their functionality – in terms of bouquet, flavour, in-mouth sensation and finish – was reviewed and evaluated in a selection process. After each wine, a number of glasses were eliminated by a show of hands until finally, after the fourth wine, one glass prevailed.
The glass that received the best rating from the Neusiedler DAC vintners was the Syrah glass from the Riedel Veritas series, closely followed by the Syrah glass from the Performance series. In the second workshop with the vintners from the Rubin Carnuntum region, the Syrah glass from the Performance series came out on top. When the points awarded in both workshops were added up, the Syrah glass from the Performance series proved to be the clear winner.
“We were sure of our product, but wanted it to be assessed by our harshest critics: the vintners. Their approval is the highest praise for us,” Maximilian Riedel explains.
“Optic impact” – an innovation prevails
In both rounds it quickly became clear that the glass shapes Riedel had previously recommended for Syrah were able to hold their own all the way to the end, but that the glass from the Performance series presented in February 2018 surpassed all others. Its special feature is the surface of the glass inside the bowl, which is produced “optically” in a machine process: a grooved structure increases the inner surface area of the glass without changing its elegant silhouette or feel. This structure also serves to additionally aerate the wine as it is swirled, thereby enhancing its bouquet. Maximilian Riedel uses the term “optic impact”. The barely visible grooves are not a gimmick, but serve the purpose of presenting the wine in its most perfect and comprehensive form.
“My father, Georg Riedel, and I have been working on this series for several years. The fact that our best winemakers favored this glass makes us especially happy and proud,” says Maximilian Riedel.
Innovation by Riedel
The Performance series is without parallel on the market. Its many years in development paid off. The glasses of this new series differ significantly from all the other products available on the market. The bowl is larger and has an increased volume through the optic impact. The diameter of the mouth rim has been adjusted so that the wine hits the tongue and palate with even more precision. The base has a diameter that was previously impossible to produce by machine. This allows the glass to remain perfectly balanced despite the larger volume and thinner stem.
Riedel Performance is machine made, executed in dishwasher-proof, lead-free crystal glass, and suitable for commercial use.
The vintners were all in agreement, especially with regard to the way the Performance glass allows the wine to show off its wide-ranging nuances of taste.
Some quotes from vintners:
“The right glass perfectly optimises the character and finesse of the wine, the symbiosis of terroir and climate, as well as the vintner’s own distinctive flair. It is fascinating to observe how the right choice of glass can elicit a well-balanced taste from the wine as well as layered aromas from each individual grape variety.” – Jasmin Egger, Jaqueline Klein Winery
“As the chairman of Neusiedlersee DAC, a protected designation of origin association, I am especially pleased that we initiated this interesting, informative Zweigelt workshop together with Riedel. The tasting itself was extremely impressive. It was astonishing to see how a specific glass could suit – or not suit – the wine in question. In the end we were able to find a glass that suits all of our types of Zweigelt and brings out the best in them!” – Chairman of Neusiedlersee DAC, protected designation of origin association, Christoph Salzl, Salzl Seewinkelhof winery
“In the past three decades, Carnuntum has evolved from an insider tip to a prestigious wine-growing region that is increasingly recognised both in Austria and abroad. Our family-run winery has been producing Zweigelt since 1986, which is why we are especially pleased and proud to have a designated Zweigelt glass from the renowned Riedel glassware company. The results of the tastings speak for themselves, and I believe that they will also provide new impulses for continued growth in viticulture and in our region.” – Johannes Pitnauer-Wolfram
- Neusiedlersee DAC
- Egermann winery, Alexander Egermann
- Ettl organic winery, Michael Ettl
- Keringer winery, Robert Keringer
- Jacqueline Klein winery, Jacqueline Klein and Jasmin Egger
- Andi Kroiss winery, Andreas Kroiss
- Lentsch winery, Markus Lentsch
- Gebrüder Nittnaus Gols GmbH, Andreas and Hans Michael Nittnaus
- Paul Rittsteuer winery, Paul Rittsteuer
- Salzl Seewinkelhof, Christoph Salzl
- Artisan Wines – DI Franz Schneider, DI Franz Schneider
- Schwarz Wein GmbH & Co KG, Johann Schwarz
- Unger winery, Andreas Unger
- Hess Christoph winery, Christoph Hess
- Rubin Carnuntum
- Glatzer winery, Walter Glatzer
- Glock winery, Günther Glock
- Hans & Jakob Glock winery, Hans & Jakob Glock
- Gottschuly Grassl winery, Michaela Gottschuly
- Gerhard Markowitsch winery, Gerhard Markowitsch
- Netzl winery, Franz and Christine Netzl
- Pitnauer winery, Johannes Pitnauer-Wolfram
- Riedmüller winery and wine tavern, Michaela Riedmüller
- Neusiedlersee DAC
- Erich Scheiblhofer winery, Zweigelt Neusiedlersee DAC 2018
- Keringer winery, Zweigelt Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve 2017
- Salzl Seewinkelhof winery, Zweigelt Neusiedlersee DAC 2017
- Günther Horvath winery, Zweigelt Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve 2017
- Rubin Carnuntum
- Böheim winery, Rubin Carnuntum 2018 – Arbesthal
- Gerhard Markowitsch winery, Rubin Carnuntum 2018 – Göttlesbrunn
- Robert Payr winery, Zweigelt Steinäcker 2015 – Höflein
- Lukas Markowitsch winery, Zweigelt Haidacker 2013 – Göttlesbrunn