Kosher Wine– What Makes Wine
The term “kosher wine” used to
conjure images of the square bottle of super-sweet wine found on seder
tables the world over. Today’s kosher wines are not relegated to that
sweet, square bottle - there are delicious certified kosher wines from
all over the world. According to Eric Asimov, Chief Wine Critic of the
New York Times, "Kosher wines have improved so vastly over the years,
the majority of kosher wines are good enough to appeal to anybody."
These are not your grandma’s kosher wines!
Makes a Wine Kosher?
kosher wine begins like every other – as
grapes on a vine. These grapes may be grown and picked by anyone. But
once grapes reach the winery for crushing, the process is under strict
rabbinal supervision. From crushing through bottling, kosher wine must
be handled and processed by Sabbath-observing Jews. Barrels and tanks
must be deemed kosher for use. The rabbi or Kashrut-trained supervisor
must observe all aspects of the winemaking process and no work can be
done on the Sabbath.
Mevushal v. Non-Mevushal
mevushal wine is a kosher wine that has been pasteurized,
meaning it has been brought to the boiling point and then cooled. This
does not mean that mevushal wines are cooked; rather, they are flash
pasteurized (i.e., the wine is brought to the boiling point within
seconds and cooled down just as quickly). In most tastings it is
difficult to tell the difference between mevushal and non-mevushal
wines. The reason it might matter whether a kosher wine is mevushal or
non-mevushal is that mevushal wines remain kosher no matter what type of
handling they receive.
Therefore, a non-kosher waiter or server can
open the wine and it still remains kosher. Most kosher wines made in
the US are mevushal. More non-mevushal wines are found in Israel, where
it is not too difficult for a bottle to remain in kosher hands after
bottling until the time of drinking.
So don’t hesitate to purchase
non-Mevushal kosher wines as gifts for your kosher-keeping friends and
relatives, since their kosher hands will be the ones handling it,
keeping their kosher wine gift kosher. Consider adding a bottle (or
two!) of our delicious kosher wine to your favorite
kosher gift basket. It will be even more
When to Send
a Kosher Wine Gift
In Judaism, wine is considered
to be both celebratory and ceremonial. We usher in every holiday with
lighting of ceremonial candles and blessings over wine. It is used to
sanctify holidays (Shabbat-weekly, and other annual holidays like
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot) and
life cycle events (bris, b’nai mitzvoth, and weddings). And as it is a
necessary part of our events, we certainly prefer that it be delicious
and high-quality! Your friends, family, colleagues, and clients will
all appreciate a delicious, thoughtful
kosher wine gift. Don’t hesitate! We have a
wonderful selection of kosher wines and spirits at various price points
and types. And of course, don’t forget what Eric Asimov says: "Kosher
wines have improved so vastly over the years, the majority of kosher
wines are good enough to appeal to anybody."
©2011, The Challah Connection