Open letter to Georg Riedel, president of Riedel Glass Company of Austria:
Never having done a Jello shot, the other night I turned some rather nice Syrah and Chardonnay into Knox Blox. I suggest you try it. The boingy little squares showcase varietal flavors, while satisfying the urge to chew. Imagine echo-boomers fifty years hence; a bunch of creaky old snobs at their annual meeting of Most Honorable Order of Important Wine Worshippers, donning robes, pointy hats and Superman underwear, while out come magnums of…Cabernet Jello! “Excuse me, sir, but the ’02 bounced onto the floor during decanting. Shall I dust it off and serve it anyway?”
Jello shots are here to stay and they deserve proper glassware. Who better to make it than the undisputed King of Cup, Riedel Glass? You may have a lock on the luxury category since buying up your only real competition, Spiegelau, but are you ready for this sort of challenge?
You’ve shown terrific initiative ever since the day your son Maximillian knocked over a few of your best glasses, breaking off their stems, and saved his hide by christening the legless bowls The “O” Series. They’ve become the darling of the dishwasher set and are flying off shelves everywhere. But you’ll have to keep scrambling.
As an active trend watcher, I’m offering some suggestions. I ask, in return, only credit for my ideas (although I’d consider replacements for the Riedel crystal that my father—-given to sweeping, dramatic gestures when he’s not grasping at things for balance-—keeps breaking).
What is the future of the wine glass? We have gone from terra cotta beakers to bronze goblets; from maiden-aunt sherry thimbles to aquarium-sized, gossamer bowls. What should a wine glass do today? Actually, I prefer mine to sit quietly on the table. But that’s beside the point because it’s time we stopped thinking in dated terms like “wine glass.” We’ve traded in our beds and mattresses for “sleep systems” that do everything from monitoring mood and bone density to charging our cellphone. What we need is a Beverage Delivery Matrix (BDM).
This should appeal to you, considering in your public tastings you refer to the process of drinking as “initiating flow.” I assume this verbal precision permeates all aspects of your life. Family dinners, for instance:
“Max, stop talking right now and initiate intake of your peas!”
“But, Dad, they make me want to activate inverse peristalsis!”
The BDM concept is important because modern drinking trends are bypassing the glass. Clubbers sip Champagne in cans through bendy straws. Eurotrash disco hounds lick tubes of Freaky Ice frozen pops in flavors like Red Vodka Energy and Tequila & Lime.
Then there’s AWOL (Alcohol Without Liquid), a party machine that mixes shots of booze with oxygen to create a vapor you inhale instead of drink. Result: no calories, no hangover, and an instant, euphoric high.
You could fight back with transdermal delivery, a rub-on Riesling cream like what bodybuilders use for steroids. Or how about a Merlot patch, re-applied every three days, undetectable even to your tailor? It would certainly stem the tide of glass breakage.
For the old or infirm, you might consider a lead-crystal IV bag and tube, or a finely tuned dialysis machine that takes four hours to up the blood’s level of essential Zinfandels.
What we’re all seeking with wine, in the end, is comfort. We’ve merely replaced mother, lovingly heating our milk bottle in a saucepan, with a sommelier, carefully chilling our bottle in an ice bucket. With this in mind, your next design project could resemble a baby bottle, with a nipple of softest imported, brushed-latex. I don’t know, can you hand-blow Pyrex?
The deep customer satisfaction resulting would more than make up for the R&D costs. This will be big. You’ll want to look at acquiring companies such as Evenflo or Gerber. Maybe even Tommee Tippee, whose sippy cup, come to think of it, would make an ideal Christmas present for my dad.
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