50
BEVERAGE mEDIA
March 2013
KOSHER
FOCUS
sparkling Moscato, specifically Bar-
tenura’s, which sold well at $18.99.
Israeli vis à vis Kosher
No doubt it is easy enough to take a
“this, too, shall pass” attitude toward
kosher wine rush during March (Pass-
over this year begins March 25
th
), but
recent advances are creating an oppor-
tunity to close the next perception-
reality gap, encouraging Americans to
embrace kosher wines as quality play-
ers in the mainstream wine arena. The
fact that most Americans mistakenly
assume that all Israeli wine is kosher
can be used as a springboard not only
to clarify what makes a wine kosher,
but also to present both categories as
wine first—and kosher-or-not second.
Yes, most Israeli bottlings reach-
ing the U.S. are in fact kosher. But the
majority of wineries in Israel—there
are more than 250 today—are actually
not kosher. For Joshua Greenstein, ex-
ecutive VP of Sales & Marketing for
the Israel Wine Producers Association
(IWPA), one vital message that needs
to reach consumers is simply that ko-
sher wine is based on a regimen of su-
pervision, not on its origin; nor is it a
function of wine being “blessed.” As
Gil Shatsberg, winemaker at Recana-
ti, points out, kosher is a certification
process, not unlike organic and Bio-
dynamic wines earning their designa-
tions through certification. Even more
important to the awareness message:
Israeli and kosher wines alike are rid-
ing the same wave of rising quality that
is seeing improved wines made and en-
joyed the world over.
Recanati and Golan Heights Win-
ery, both based in Galilee, are leaders
in the Israeli category. Golan Heights
(makers of the Yarden label) was
recognized as the 2012 New World
Winery of the Year by
Wine Enthusi-
ast
magazine. Head winemaker Vic-
tor Schoenfeld, who travels the globe
selling his wines, says “The wines sell
well in Japan and Northern Europe. In
Japan, whether the wines are kosher
never comes up.”
Yarden’s Chardonnay from the
Odem Vineyard, fermented and aged
on its lees for seven months in French
oak, would please most any Cali-Chard
lover. The Cabernet Sauvignon is
full-bodied, well structured and also
a perennial best seller. Recanati has
excelled at both value and high-end
wines. Their spicy yet fruit-laden
reserve level Petite Sirah-Zinfandel
(SRP $26) is stellar and sports a new
label picturing an actual vine in the
vineyard. The Special Reserve Red
(SRP $53, not made every year) avoids
se l ec t i on
KOSHER
MEVUSHAL
VS.
KOSHER?
Kosher wines are made in much
the same way that non-kosher fine
wines are made, with the caveat
that they have been produced under
Rabbinical supervision. Also kosher
facilities must observe the Sabbath,
so winemaking procedures can not
take place on Saturdays.
Technically, certified kosher
wines are intended to be opened
only by kosher-observant Jews.
Wines certified as
mevushal
(Hebrew for “cooked" or “boiled”),
however, can be opened and
served by anyone (this is a boon for
catering halls and restaurants). In
the past, the extra step required to
render a wine mevushal—heating
it to 185°F—was widely thought to
strip the wine of flavor and charac-
ter. However, the technique of flash
pasteurization, which is in fact used
by non-kosher wineries as well, has
been credited with vastly improving
the quality of mevushal wines.
ONE MESSAGE THAT NEEDS
TO REACH AMERICAN
CONSUMERS IS SIMPLY
THAT KOSHER WINE IS
BASED ON A REGIMEN
OF SUPERVISION, NOT ON
ITS ORIGIN; NOR IS IT A
FUNCTION OF WINE BEING
“BLESSED.”
PASSOVER
BEGINS
MARCH 25
TH
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