What is a 'tastevin'?

1/13/2017

Tastevins are shallow, often dimpled, saucers used for tasting by professionals. These flat bottomed shallow cups, which are often worn on a ribbon around the neck, originated in Burgundy where professional wine tasters came to the general agreement that it was easier to judge the color of a red wine when it was poured in a shallow layer over the brightly reflecting silver rather than in a glass where it sat in a greater mass. So popular were such implements during the 17th and 18th centuries that even today they remain the acknowledged ceremonial symbol of Burgundy.

Despite their rather romantic history, the tastevin is really a rather useless tool. Because they are broad and shallow they do not allow one to fully appreciate the aroma or bouquet of the wine being sampled, and, if one’s lip is even the least bit wet the metallic “taste” of the silver interferes with one’s ability to taste the wine itself. {Source: Daniel Rogov}

What percentage of wine produced in the U.S. is from California? What percentage of California wine is from Napa and Sonoma combined?

Not surprisingly, California makes about 90% of all wine produced in the United States. In fact, with 494 million gallons of wine produced, if California were a nation it would be the fourth leading wine-producing country in the world behind Italy, France and Spain. (New York in second place at approximately 8%).

What is surprising is that only 9% of wine produced in California is from Napa and Sonoma combined. When you consider though that E. & J. Gallo Winery (in Modesto County) is one of the largest wine making operations in the world producing 75 million cases annually with sales of over $2 billion, it may not be so surprising. To drive the point home, Gallo produces an amazing array of brands. Among them are: Livingston Cellars, Sheffield, Carlo Rossi, Turning Leaf, Fairbanks, Gallo of Sonoma, Gossamer Bay, Anapamu, Bella Sera, Andre, Ballatore, Eden Roc (discontinued), Tott’s, Ecco Domani, Rancho Zabaco, Marcelina, Bartles & Jaymes, Boone's Farm, Hornsby’s Cider, Wild Vines, Peter Vella, Redwood Creek, Frei Brothers, Indigo Hills, MacMurray Ranch, Twin Valley Vineyards , Black Swan (Aust), McWilliams Hanwood Estate (Aust), and Gallo recently purchased Louis Martini Winery, Mirrassou & Barefoot Cellars. Restaurant only labels : Burlwood, Copper Ridge, William Wycliff Vineyards, Liberty Creek (not available retail), Private label: Alcott Ridge (Wal-Mart); Timberwoods Vineyards (Albertsons / Sav-on).

Here’s something you’ll probably have to guess at — How many acres of vineyards worldwide are planted to grapes? a) 2 million b) 20 million c) 200 million

There are approximately 20 million acres planted to grapes worldwide. Spain has the most acreage with 2.9 million acres planted, followed by France (2.3M), Italy 2.2M), Turkey (1.4M) and the United States (886, 000 acres).


Originally published in the Eos Estate Winery and Cupa Grandis edition of our Gold Wine Club's newsletter, The Wine Press.