Handmade in Kufstein
In 2016, Riedel Glass celebrated 260 years of glass manufacturing and I had the pleasure to record an interview with the owner and CEO Maximilian Riedel. In 1756, the third generation of the Riedel family built their first glass factory in Bohemia, known now as the Czech Republic. Today, Riedel has its mouth-blowing glass factory in Kufstein.Georg Riedel’s grandfather and father moved to Kufstein after the Second World War and took over the bankrupted “Tiroler Glashütte”, with financial help from friends of the family, Swarovski.
My girlfriend Helene grew up in Kufstein and remembers visiting the Riedel Glass factory on a school trip. The tour takes you around the factory grounds where you can see the glassmakers at work. It takes 11 years to become a master glassmaker and you understand why when you see them working with absolute precision.
The art of glassmaking at Riedel Glass
There is a reason why it is called a “heat job”, it was as if we were in a sauna when walking around the factory floor. For the production, the glassmakers need a lot of heat from the ovens and additional fire assisted apparatus, to allow them to work the way they want with the glass. We observed them shaping, bending, embedding branding and doing all sorts of wonderful things with the glass. Glassmaking really is an art form.
Riedel Glass were the first to create grape varietal specific wine glasses. In 1973, Claus Riedel (10th generation) set the industry benchmark with the legendary “Sommeliers Collection”. Along with others, this range of glassware are still handmade and mouth-blown by the master craftsman in Kufstein.
Exclusive interview with Maximilian Riedel
We recorded an exclusive interview with Maximilian Riedel (11th generation). He is now carrying the Riedel torch on from his father Claus. It was impressive to see a CEO know every little detail about every single product, at the drop of a hat, he really knows his stuff.
Maximilian spent a long time abroad in France and the US, but now he lives and works in Tirol. As a creative, Tirol is where he gets most of his inspiration for his innovations in glassware. I also feel the inspiration that Tirol has to give.
What do you love about Tirol?
This is another reason why I moved to Innsbruck; there is something very special about the mountains and their surroundings. It is amazing to think how many great creations come from Tirol, in relation to its size and population, this is what I love about it. What do you love about Tirol?
Author: Ashley Wiggins.