The Proust Questionnaire: Max Riedel

Born in Vienna, 34-year-old Maximilian Riedel is an 11th-generation member of the Riedel glassmaking dynasty and CEO of Riedel North America. He lives in New York.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Living in the moment.

What is your greatest fear?

Going out of business and becoming dependent.

Which living person do you most admire?

Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, because my dream as a child was to be a racing driver – they’re so engaged with what they do and have such flair.

What is your current state of mind?

Connected – to people and my surroundings.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My Ferrari F40 in Riedel red; it’s an animal.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Comfort and support.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Fantastic.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My mother Eva. I have a lot to thank her for – she stands by me no matter what, and I’ve yet to find that in a woman, despite desperately searching.

When and where were you happiest?

Relaxing in my retreat in the South of France on a sunny afternoon with the crickets trilling and a bottle of rosé nearby.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could draw better – I’ve never been to design school. I like the idea of it. It’s romantic.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My star sign. Being a Virgo, I’m a perfectionist, which can drive me, and other people insane. I have to force myself not to be too nerdy about it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is yet to come, but so far I’d say it was the creation of the “O” series for Riedel in 2004, which became the fastest selling new collection in our company’s history. If I do nothing else, I’ve left my footprint.

Where would you most like to live?

In the South of France permanently.

What is your most treasured possession?

My family’s friendship, which is very rare when you’re in business together.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My extreme perfectionism. I like everything to be nice and neat, I can’t concentrate if it’s not.

Who are your favourite writers?

Franz Kafka. He influenced me a lot growing up – I really related to his Letter to My Father about the angst between father and son and how his relationship with his father shaped who he was as a person. I’m also a dreamer who thrives on fear, so I’d have to include Hemingway.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Batman – his cave would be a great place to store wine. Also, Batgirl is really attractive, I like her outfit.

What is it that you most dislike?

People who are late, disloyalty and dishonesty.

What is your greatest regret?

I’ve yet to have a great regret – I always learn from my mistakes.

What is your motto?

Carpe diem.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them? 

Angela Merkel, as I admire her tremendously, Mark Zuckerberg, to scratch his brains about how he created the biggest country in the world, and my father as he’s a fantastic host. I’d serve them vintage Champagne and old Pinot Noir from around the world.

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