Kosher Wine

By December 4, 2018Wines

Kosher wine is one of serious importance for those who follow the Jewish faith. It outlines strict rules on how the wine grapes are cultivated and produced and are intact to ensure that no part of the wine process violated the Jewish dietary laws. For those who are not entirely sure what kosher is, I can give you the simple lowdown. Kosher is any food or drinks that are prepared in accordance to Jewish dietary laws. The laws dictate that certain foods and drinks can never be consumed or come in contact with one another at any point. Essentially each ingredient that makes up that food or drink has to not only be completely kosher, but also has to have never come in contact with other ingredients that are considered to be non-kosher. If you are interested in the main foods and drinks that are considered to be kosher and non-kosher compliant then keep on reading!

Guidelines on Basic Kosher Requirements

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The Bible has instructed that not all animals and birds can be considered kosher. Cows, goat, and sheep are considered to be the most common animals that are considered to be kosher while animals such as pigs, horses, camel, rabbit, and birds are all considered to be animals that are not kosher, meaning they cannot be consumed. Poultry items, for the most part, remain kosher such as chicken, turkey, goose, and duck. In addition to these rules, kosher animals have to be prepared and killed in a way that is compliant to kosher laws. They have to have their blood removed via salting or roasting, and all sorts of slaughtering must be supervised strictly by a rabbi. The last aspect to being considered kosher, is that all chicken and poultry must be kosher certified by a reputable kosher agency. In terms of dairy products and kosher requirements, all dairy products must be derived from animals that are considered to be kosher. There is some leniency in regards to rabbi supervision over certain dairy products. Milk can sometimes be produced without full-time rabbi supervision whereas products such as cheese must be supervised at all times no matter what. Similar rules apply to other food categories. Seafood deemed kosher have fins and scales that can be easily removed such as salmon, tuna, sole, and plaice. Any animal that contains fins or scales that are difficult to remove are automatically considered non-kosher compliant animals and this includes sharks, eels, shellfish, monkfish, huss, and catfish. There are of course many other rules that are outlined for many different categories of food when it relates to the concept of kosher; however, I only go over a few just so that you can get an idea of what kosher means and the sort of requirements that are to be met in order to be compliant with kosher standards.

Kosher Compliant in Relation to Wine and Grape Products

The rules set out for kosher standards in relation to the production of products made from grapes (such as wine, wine vinegar, grape juice, etc.) , are to be met with the highest and utmost strictest standards. Unlike milk, in which it can still be kosher compliant and only watched about half of the time by a rabbi, wine on the other hand has to be not only supervised by the rabbi at all times, but must always be handled only by those of the Jewish faith. Everything from handling of grapes to the manufacturing process and more cannot be done by anyone else but Jewish people, otherwise those grape products cannot be kosher certified at all. One of the reasons behind why kosher wine can only be handled by Sabbath-observant Jews can actually be traced to the concept that kosher wine is not considered kosher if someone who believes in idolatry, made contact with that wine. Implementing the rule of only exclusively Jewish people handling the wine from the process of cultivation to the point in which they become pasteurized or sealed, helps to ensure 100% that those who may believe in idolatry have not touched the wine at all. Some wines may become described as kosher enough for Passover if they have avoided contact with grain, bread, dough, legumes, and corn derivatives.

The Importance of Wine in Jewish Faith

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Judaism has a very long history with wine that can actually be traced back all the way to the biblical times. There has been strong archaeological evidence that suggests that ancient Israel had used wine for the purpose of traditional and religious use. Wine is used for almost all Jewish holidays and rituals such as Passover, Shabbat, and even during Jewish marriages and Redemption of First-born ceremonies. The concept of drinking wine is very much ingrained in the religion of Judaism from ancient times to present, so it only makes sense kosher wines become more readily available for such important holidays and rituals.

Kosher Wines to Keep an Eye Out For

The production of kosher wine has been relatively small, but is increasingly getting bigger thankfully. More and more well-known wine regions are starting to understand the importance of kosher wine and have begun implementing wine processes that follow Kosher standards. Famous wine regions such as Israel, United States, South Africa, Chile, Australia, Germany, Italy, and France. As of right now, two of the world’s largest producers and importers of kosher wine stem from Kedem and Manischewitz which both originate from the Northeastern United States.

Manischewitz Wine

The Manischewitz wine is a type of kosher wine brand that comes from a winery located in Canandaigua, New York. It has existed since 1987 and produces wines made from the labrusca grape. The aromas of the labrusca grape are typically unusual and tend to be intermixed with large amounts of residual sugar. It has two types of concord wine; wine that is sweetened with corn syrup and another sweetener that is sweetened with cane sugar. The cane sugar option of the Manischewitz concord wine came about as a result of controversy over the wine being sweetened with corn syrup. Corn and wine together are considered to be forbidden for Passover amongst Ashkenazi Jews, so alternate wine options were produced. The well-known sweet taste of the kosher wine is often joked about. Truly, this wine is very sweet in comparison to a variety of wines, but the sweetness that is characteristic of kosher wine actually comes with some history. The prevalence of sweet kosher wine can be traced to the fact that back in the early days of Jewish population within America, there was need to have locally produced wine that would be available for important holidays and rituals. At that time, there was a limited grape variety that could actually grow in the places that Jewish people settled on. This fact coupled with the fact that there was a limited time available to produce the wine in a market that that was dominated by cider, lead to a wine that was quite bitter to taste in a way that almost wasn’t drinkable. The wine had to be sweetened greatly in order for it to be more palatable and since then the idea of sweet wine and kosher wine being closely associated with one another, sort of just stuck.

Kedem Wine

The second most well-known producer of Kosher wine is attributed to the kedem family. They were formerly headquartered in New York City, but are now established in Bayonne, New Jersey. The Herzog varietals that are most famous with this kosher wine producer include Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. They have been able to win various wine competitions all over the US and collaborated to create the first Rothschild wine in 1988.

Top Kosher Wines That You Should Consider

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Now that you have become increasingly familiar with kosher wine and what kosher wine is all about, it would be cruel of me to dedicate a little time and history to kosher wine without every giving out some suggestions of kosher wine that you can try out for yourself! Without further ado, I give you a top list of recommendations of kosher wines that you should try out if you are Jewish and are looking to expand your wine collection or are simply curious about the types of kosher wine that exist out there!

2013 Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon Classic Kosher

This aromatic bottle of kosher wine is a red wine that is dry in texture and comes from the region of Israel. The wine is characteristic of having layers of oak, dark berry, and spice that are contrasted nicely with soft tannins and a focused acidity.

2014 Recanati Yasmin Red

This flavorful red wine is dry with an alcohol volume of about 14%. It is kosher for Passover and consists of a blend of grapes that grow in the Galilee and Ella Valley of Israel. It contains a fruit filled fragrance with a supple medium body and an abundance of red berry fruit that can be very much enjoyed and savored while it is still young.

2014 Celler de Capcanes Montsant Peraj Petita

This delicious medium red ruby red is filled with aromas of fresh red berries and cherries and possesses a taste that is filled with loads of red fruits, perfectly ripe and crispy. The wine is well balanced, concentrated, but certainly not overpowering. In addition to this, the celler de capcanes produces a mineral finish combined with the complexities of the fruit to create an elegant glycerin-sweetness that is crispy with soft tannins.

Rashi Joyvin Wine

A sparkling white wine with an alcohol content of about 6%. The wine produces no dryness and hails from the wine vineyards of Italy. It is kosher for Passover and a delicious white wine that surely should not be missed. The wine is partially fermented and is an easy drink to sip and savor. The body is light and fruity, working well with light flavors such as fish and chicken dishes.

Contessa Annalisa Lambrusco 2015

A dainty semi-dry sparkling wine that hails from central Emilia within the country of Italy. It has a pale straw-yellow color with hints of gold throughout and has a taste reminiscent of fruity and fresh with aromatic notes of flowers, pears, and apricot. A fruity and harmonious kosher wine that contains a pleasant finish.

Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc North Coast

This wine comes from the notable wine regions of California in the central valley. The grapes of this delectable wine were harvested at night at about 55 degrees fahrenheit. They are immediately delivered to the winery for pressing and then chilled overnight, where they are racked afterwards for the purpose of fermenting. The wine is off-dry with aromas and tastes of peaches and ripe apple combined with a nice, bright acidic balance that reflect qualities of the Clarksburg appellation.

Herzog Lineage Rose 2017

This appetizing rose wine has an alcohol content of about 13.50% and was cultivated and produced in the United States. The wine contains an earthy and natural taste with hints of tarragon, thyme, and candied fruit, Flavors of the wine include pomegranate, raspberry, and tart cherry, all of which pair greatly with the flavors of lemon herb chicken, salmon, and a variety of delicious cheeses!

Twin Suns Reserve Rose 2017

This palatable wine comes from the twin suns wine producers in the United States. It contains an alcohol content of about 13.50% and is a blend of central coast vineyards’ best fruits. The scent hits you with notes of fresh cut flowers. Upon reaching your tastebuds, this wine takes on the characteristics of sweet strawberries and citrus. The finish is both smooth and crisp and is enjoyed more thoroughly if chilled.

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As you can see, there are a ton of varieties of kosher wines that one can enjoy on the market. They follow the strictest standards of kosher guidelines, but still ring true to that fresh and delectable taste within every bottle. Refer to this list, the next time you feel like taking on a new kosher wine. The market of kosher wine is continuously growing so expect to see even more varieties and flavors to peak your interest and intrigue your taste buds.