Great wine tastes even better in a great glass!
All too often, great wines are let down by being served in the wrong glass. It’s a crime, for instance, to serve a fine old Bordeaux in a tulip-shaped glass: the wine tastes much more acidic and its bouquet doesn’t get chance to develop. Putting a cognac or champagne in the wrong glass is a major blooper on the part of the host. Restaurants frequently don’t bother with the ideal glass, either. Yet you only have to get someone to taste the same wine from three different types of glass to discover that it’s not only what’s in the bottle that determines the taste and hence the pleasure – it’s the shape of the wineglass, too.
George Riedel is a well-known wineglass maker. A descendant of Leopold Riedel, who began his career in 1753, he belongs to the tenth generation of his celebrated glassblowing family. If you happen to be in Austria, you can visit the family business for a display of virtuoso craftsmanship. The Sommelier factory near Kufstein is open to the public and offers a fascinating demonstration of how Riedel’s famous mouth-blown glasses are made.
It takes a lot of training to become a glassblower. Many years of training and professional exams follow, after which successful candidates can call themselves ‘Journeymen Glassblowers’. Those who have continued to develop their practical skills and theoretical knowledge, and who have learned all the disciplines of the trade, earn the soubriquet ‘All-Round Glassblower’.
We know from surviving documents and production drawings that DSM was already employing its first glassblowers at the former State Mines’ Central Testing Station in 1927. The heat, flames, simple tools, manual work, faces beaded with sweat and above all the traditional craftsmanship continue to give the glassworks a nostalgic atmosphere – a reminder of times long gone.
Glass technicians at the Brightlands Campus require thorough training, a dash of creativity, solid know-how, a craftsman’s eye and, most important of all, many years of experience. By listening carefully to what our customers want and putting ourselves in their shoes, we try to come up with inventive glass designs or to offer alternative solutions. Useful intelligence is also picked up through professional organizations, colleagues in the Netherlands and abroad, and from researchers at DSM itself, outside firms, universities and other R&D centres.
A world without glass is unimaginable. Not only would we have to do without our wineglasses, there would be no jam-jars, TV or PC screens, medical instruments like endoscopes, fibre-optic cables or lasers. Not to mention windscreens, spectacles, bottles, beer-glasses, coffee jugs, medicine bottles, fluorescent, neon and other lights, windows, display cases or mirrors. And there wouldn’t, of course, be any glass laboratory instruments like sophisticated optical centrifuges or glass reactors. And no equipment for tests where visual observation of a chemical process is important or glass’s outstanding chemical resistance is critical to success.
The Chemelot glass instrument-making facility is not equipped for serial production, but for rapid service and the creation of specific, high-quality glass instruments. The primary tasks of today’s all-round glass instrument maker are to conceive, design, draw and archive specific glasswork and to produce and repair high-quality and frequently complex glass laboratory equipment. End-products vary widely: just as the manufacture of a simple wineglass takes a high degree of professionalism, researchers around the world are increasingly acknowledging that high-quality glass instruments reflect both intense craftsmanship and high technology.
We are here to answer your department’s questions about glass technology. We will come and discuss any glass-related issues you might have and provide you with non-binding quotations.