It has also reminded people of an article called Shattered Myths on Riedel glassware in Gourmet magazine published back in 2004 plus there is lively and mainly critical comment on the Wine Beserkers forum under the topic: Riedel Lawyer's Letter – Pretty Wacky.
English libel law is, of course, very different, so the prospect of Tim Atkin and Washam (if he was included in the suit) facing a libel claim in the UK was a much more serious matter. Had Riedel brought a claim fighting a case could have involved Tim and, possibly Ron, in huge legal bills along with all the stress and time such a case would have involved. But would Riedel have gone to law? Would they have welcomed the significant publicity that such as case would have generated? I rather doubt it!
Today Tim has added a covering comment to the post – see below. Tim has declined to comment. However, I assume from some of the language used that this may be an agreed statement.
'In this piece, US-based wine writer Ron Washam pokes fun at Riedel, the wine glass company, a brand that I respect and use personally. This is a piece of satiricial writing. No offence is meant to be caused either to Georg Riedel or to his business. Please note that no interview with Georg Riedel took place in the creation of this article and that all quotes are fictitious and do not represent the personal views or business practices of Georg Riedel or his company. Tim Atkin'
I cannot imagine anyone reading Ron's post thinking this was a real interview with Georg Riedel with quotes like this:
"Sommeliers are the stupidest, most gullible, people I deal with, and, thus, my best messengers. I throw them expensive luncheons, taste them on fine wines, and I convince them, because they are essentially very insecure little people, that each wine glass is better than the previous for exploring a wine’s depths. I can see their beady little eyes light up. They spend their lives convincing people that more expensive wines are better. I simply speak their language back at them, only about wine glasses, and it always works.”
Incidentally I'm amazed by the number of Proseccos with yellow/orange labels – I had just never realised how much Prosecco is now made by Veuve Clicquot!
An update (Monday 10th August 2015)
A news item on The Drinks Business announces that the dispute has been resolved. However, it would surely have been better for Riedel to have contacted Tim Atkin (not Atkins as many appear to believe) discreetly before they fired off legal letters to Tim and Ron Washam.