The Fascinating Story of Riedel Tyrol Wine Glasses

Updated December 17, 2019
tops of wine glasses

The collection or Riedel Tyrol glasses were designed in honor of the Riedel company's "rebirth" in Austria some 50 years ago. While Riedel no longer makes the Tyrol glasses, you can sometimes find replacements for broken glasses online.

Replacing Riedel Tyrol Glasses

It's getting more difficult to find Riedel Tyrol glasses if you break yours. However, you can find replacements in a few spots including at Replacements, LTD and possibly on secondary markets such as eBay. However, the glasses are becoming increasingly difficult to find, so if you break several, it may be time to consider buying a different set of wine glasses.

The History of Riedel

The history of Riedel, spanning many generations, begins in the 1700's with Johan Christoph Riedel. While traveling as a glass trader, Johan Christoph was murdered by criminals who thought he was carrying a lot of money. It wasn't until the mid 1700's when Johan Christoph's grandson, Johann Leopold, established what is considered the "modern" Riedel Glassworks.

The company experienced many successes and failures throughout eight family generations until the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia (now known as the Czech Republic) in 1945. The company, and the Riedel family fortune, was taken by the state. Walter, the head of the Riedel company at the time, was arrested by the Russians shortly after and sentenced to work for five years in Eastern Siberia. After he completed his five year sentence, he attempted to flee the country, but was arrested once again by the Russians under the charge of being a spy and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

After the death of Joseph Stalin, German chancellor Konrad Adenauer rallied on behalf of the "prisoners of war" and as a result of his efforts, Walter Riedel was released from prison and able to return home.

Riedel's Rebirth

While his grandfather was serving his sentence in Russia, Claus Riedel escaped the communist rule in the Czech Republic, leaving his home country for Austria. Upon hearing that Claus was in their village, the Swarovskis met him and welcomed Claus into their family. The Swarovskis had a strong relationship with the Riedels, as it was Claus' great-grandfather, Josef that taught the family the art of glass making.

After sending Claus to college, the Swarovskis then lent him the funds to purchase the bankrupt glasshouse Tiroler. This location remains a Riedel factory today and it was here where Riedel began making it's now famous line of stemware.

The Tyrol Collection

Riedel Tyrol glasses were unlike any of the other Riedel collections. They were comprised of a leaded crystal bowl and base. The base of the glasses in the Tyrol collection is a solid half-sphere and the bowls came in ten different sizes. This collection offered the following types of glasses:

  • Red wine - Including specific glasses for:
    • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Shiraz
    • Pinot Noir
  • White wine - The white wine collection includes specific glasses for:
    • Viognier/Chardonnay
    • Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc
    • Montrachet

Other types of Tyrol glasses consist of:

  • Champagne
  • Rocks
  • Martini
  • "Pop's"

Tyrol Glasses: Specifications

This glassware collection could loosely be considered stemless wine glasses, but not completely because of the solid half sphere base. The following are the specification of each type of glass:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon - This glass stands at 6⅛ inches and can hold up to 24⅛ ounces.
  • Pinot Noir - Slightly smaller than the Cabernet glass, this glass stands 5 ½ inches tall and holds up to 24 ounces.
  • Syrah - The Syrah glass stands at 5 ½ inches tall and holds 24 ¼ ounces.
  • Viognier/Chardonnay - This white wine glass stands at 4 ⅞ inches and holds 12⅞ ounces of wine.
  • Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc - Larger than the Viognier/Chardonnay glass, the Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc glass stands at 7⅜ inches and holds 14⅞ ounces.
  • Montrachet - Short and wide, the Montrachet glass stands at 4 ¾ inches and holds 21⅞ ounces.
  • Champagne - Not your typical Champagne glass, it stands at six inches, holding seven ounces of Champagne.
  • Rocks - The Rocks glass stands 4 ⅝ inches high and can hold 16 ¾ ounces of your favorite libation.
  • Martini - Standing at a mere 2⅞ inches, this glass holds up to eight ounces of your favorite Martini.
  • Pop's - Designed for carbonated beverages, the Pop's glass stands at 5⅛ inches and holds 19¾ ounces.

The Great Glass Debate

While Riedel no longer produces the Tyrol glasses, there are plenty of other affordable but nice wine glasses available. So if your collection is thinning out due to breakage, you can try to replace them. If you can't find the glasses you need, it's the perfect opportunity to find new wine glasses.

The Fascinating Story of Riedel Tyrol Wine Glasses