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What is Kosher Wine?

"Kosher", in Hebrew, means fit or proper, and is generally used to describe food prepared in accordance with special Jewish dietary laws.
Since Kosher law does not prohibit the use of specific wine styles, grape varieties or origin, hence any wine, made in accordance with these laws can be Kosher. This explains the “surprisingly” large variety of Kosher wines available from Israel, the USA, France and Italy.

kosher wineKosher law for wine making requires the following points:

1. Equipment used to make the wine is used exceptionally for producing Kosher products.
2. Only Sabbath observing Jews can handle the wine from grape crushing to consumption, unless the wine is Mevushal (pasteurized).
3. Only certified Kosher products (yeast, filtering agents, etc.) can be used.
Though the process of pasteurization (Mevoshel) alters the flavor of the wine, modern implementation of this process assures that the wine remains unaffected. Furthermore, the perception that Kosher wines are sweet is due largely to historical circumstances, having nothing to do with Kosher supervision.
The Concord grape, the only available sort of grape for Jewish immigrants arriving in New York area, is an acid grape which must be balanced with sugar to be enjoyed as sweet wine. With the time, this fact was accepted by Kosher.
Today, the range of grape sorts used for producing Kosher supervised wines has greatly expanded. Due to this range, Kosher wines are available in all varieties all over the world. By employing the services of master winemakers, using only premium grapes and applying state-of-the-art viticultural techniques, modern Kosher wines are often superior or at least identical in quality to non-Kosher wines. The result: A product one could only regard proudly.


kosher wineWine produced in Israel will be considered and accepted as Kosher as long as the following instructions are strictly observed.
1. In the first three years after a vine is planted, its fruit is called Orla. According to the Bible (Torah) it is forbidden to be consumed in any way and so flower buds must be removed before they form and become fruit. Only grapes from the fourth year onwards may be used for wine making.
2. During the seventh year (Shmita) the fields must lay fallow. The strict observant will not purchase any agricultural product grown in Israel during the Shmita year.
3. From the time the grapes arrive at the winery, only Sabbath observing Jews are allowed to work on the production of the wines. Entrance to the wine producing area is strictly forbidden for anyone else.
4. All substances used in the production or clarification of the wines must be certified as strict Kosher for Passover.
5. A tithe. Maaser, which constitutes 1% of the wine produced every year, is poured away in the presence of prominent Rabbis and school children, symbolizing the tithe given to the priests (Kohanim) in the time of Holy Temples.

See certificate of kosher here.

Read also the articles about Kosher wine.

What Makes a Wine Kosher? by Yael Zisling

Kosher Wine by Dennis Manuel

About Kosher wine from http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

A Brief History of Kosher Wine from http://www.covenantwines.com/

 

 

 

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