The Tastevin, a Burgundian Symbol of Unique Winemaking Tradition

We recently posted a reel to Instagram highlighting a tastevin, and it is just now starting to gain traction, so we decided to write a quick post about what the tastevin is and what it was used for.

The tastevin is a small, shallow silver or pewter cup that was traditionally used by wine tasters in Burgundy, France. It is said to have originated in the 17th century, when wine merchants and producers would use it to sample wine straight from the barrel.

The cup’s concave shape and polished surface allowed tasters to assess a wine’s color, clarity, and depth, while its small size made it easy to carry and use in the cellars and vineyards where wine was made. Over time, the tastevin became an emblem of Burgundian wine culture and a symbol of the region’s unique wine-making traditions. Some even say that young boys, born into winemaking families, received a tastevin on their second birthday, thought we were unable to verify this information through research.

The ridges and molds provided the reflection needed to see how light or dark a wine was in the candlelight of 17th century Burgundy, and this was considered to be an advantage.

Despite its historical significance, however, the tastevin is not considered an ideal tool for tasting wine in a modern context. This is because the shape of the cup can actually distort the aromas and flavors of the wine, making it difficult to accurately assess its quality.

Today, most wine professionals and enthusiasts prefer to use a wine glass with a wide bowl and tapered rim to evaluate a wine’s appearance, aroma, and flavor. These glasses are designed to enhance the wine’s aromas and allow them to be more easily detected by the nose, while also providing enough space to swirl the wine and release its full range of flavors.

Of course, the tastevin remains an important historical symbol of winemaking in Burgundy, so if you can get your hands on one, we suggest you hold on to it. But, if you are serious about evaluating the quality and character of a wine, you might opt for a well-designed wine glass that allows you to fully experience aroma, flavors, and texture of your wine.

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