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 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
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
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.
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
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
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