Riedel sues Eisch over breathable glass claims

  • Monday 29 October 2007

Wine glass manufacturer Riedel has filed a lawsuit in Germany against competitor Eisch challenging its marketing of a new line of glassware as ‘breathable’.

The dispute revolves around a proprietary technology by which Eisch claims its glasses are ‘oxygenated’ after being blown. Eisch contends that the resulting ‘breathable’ glasses aerate wine faster than normal glasses, making young wines more expressive after only a few minutes of being poured.

According to Riedel boss Georg Riedel the third party who developed the glass oxygenation process first approached his company but was turned down after unsatisfactory tests.

‘The people who developed this [process] made a presentation in our office to identify their breathable wines. They were not able to. We passed,’ said Riedel.

Neither Riedel nor Eisch will disclose the name of the party which developed the process. Eisch would not disclose any information regarding the process.

‘Many companies and individuals have tried to discover that information, and we consider it proprietary. The results speak for themselves,’ Alan Zalayet, export chief at Eisch, told decanter.com.

Master of Wine and master sommelier Ronn Wiegand and writer Dan Berger both lauded Eisch’s breathable glasses after participating with other wine professionals in comparative sensory tests at ETS Laboratories in Napa.

Zalayet remains defiant.

‘We refuse to be intimidated by Mr. Riedel,’ he said. ‘We understand that he has a very aggressive approach to business. He purchased his major competitor as a way of eliminating competition, and he is now attempting to use his position of power to try to slow our growth in the market. The lawsuit does not affect any of our efforts in the USA market, nor does it question the fact that wines served in our glasses clearly have a more open and developed character.’

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