The origin of the Austrian glass company based in Kufstein (Tyrol) is in the Isaer Mountains (North Bohemia), where the industrialist Josef Riedel (1816-1894) owned numerous glassworks and was called the "Glass King of the Jizera Mountains". His son Josef Anton Riedel (1862-1924) and grandson Walter Riedel (1895-1974) further expanded the company. The family was expropriated in 1945/1946 during the expulsion of the Germans from Czechoslovakia. With financial help from the Swarovsk family (manufacture of cut gemstones), in 1954 Claus Josef Riedel (1925-2004) was given the chance to take over the Tyrolean glassworks from bankruptcy. His father Walter returned from captivity a year later. In 1956 the glass production in Kufstein was started under the name Riedel-Glas.
Today, the company is managed in the 10th and 11th generation by Georg Josef Riedel and his son Maximilian. In 2004 Riedel took over 100% of the shares of FX Nachtmann Bleikristall GmbH (the plant was closed in 2009) and with it the immediate competitor Spiegelau. The brands Riedel, Nachtmann and Spiegelau operate under the name "Riedel Glass Works". Maximilian J. Riedel has been CEO of the Riedel subsidiary "Riedel Crystal of America" since December 2004. The USA is now the largest export market.
Claus Josef Riedel was the first to recognize the great influence of glass shape on perception. That the same wine smells and tastes different from different glasses. Georg Riedel developed the knowledge that "the content determines the form" and the varietal according to different shape and size of the wine glasses demands in which Aroma and bouquet of the wine come into their own. The development work of two generations forms the basis of the glass lines. The company signature "Riedel" is embossed on the base of the glass, one point afterwards says that it is second-choice glass. The main glass lines are:
Basic: basic equipment with three types (white wine, red wine and sparkling wine).
Overture: Entry-level series with eight types.
Sommelier: In collaboration with the Italian Sommelier Association (ASI), Claus Riedel presented the world's first gourmet glass series in Orvieto in 1973. It comprises 31 types and is the most successful handmade glass series in the world. She also has an honorable place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Vinum: In 1986 the first machine glass series in history was developed. It includes 20 types.
Wine: In 1999 this machine-blown glass was introduced for those customers for whom the smooth glass on the laid table was not decorative enough. The series comprises eight types.