March 2013
being lumped into the Cabernet crowd
by including Merlot, Petite Sirah and
Syrah in the mix.
Shopping Patterns
Mouzouras at NYC’s Gotham Wines
has noticed trends on both the wine-
making and wine-buying sides. “Am-
bitious winemakers are more adven-
turous with their blends,” he notes,
and rosé is “finally picking up, as
more consumers realize that pink wine
doesn’t indicate sweetness.” He has
also noticed “a lot of single vineyard
designations for red wines.” Mouzouras
proudly notes that at Gotham, Israeli
wines have their own section and are
as “often recommended even though
the consumer is not looking for a ‘ko-
sher’ wine,” he says.
Royal’s Gary Landsman notes
with a degree of frustration that many
stores lump Israeli and kosher wines
together, often in the back of a store.
Selling Israeli wines on their merits
year-round is hard “when stores don’t
divide by region.”
Allied Importers’ Siegmeister has
been impressed with the “Mediter-
ranean” wines coming from Israel.
“There has been success with Shiraz
and other Rhône varietals along with
some Italian varietals,” he says. “Inter-
estingly, I usually get the best response
to these wines from mainstream buy-
ers.” Landsman notes as well that
tasting consumers on several regional
wines showcases the world-class qual-
ity of Israeli and kosher wines.
In the big picture, Passover is a
mixed blessing for kosher and Israeli
wines; the calendar draws attention,
but not for long. Now that wine-
minded Americans no longer expect
all kosher wine to taste like grandpa’s
sweet, foxy Manischewitz, the next
step in expanding awareness and be-
yond-holiday sales is to continue to
emphasize the wines’ pure quality and
expanding stylistic spectrum.
In gauging the prospects for in-
creasing kosher wine’s acceptance
beyond seasonal peaks and beyond
Israel connection, it’s worth noting
that diversity—in conjunction with
quality—is certainly helping expand
awareness. In short, kosher wines
are more than ever reflecting the
trends and tastes that Americans are
already embracing.
Take Moscato, for example.
Bartenura—which has enjoyed a
successful extension into a sparkling
version—is beloved by a growing
throng of Americans who know it
comes in a blue bottle but have no
idea it’s kosher. Royal Wine Corp.,
importer of Bartenura, is also at
the leading edge of the sweet red
trend, with Jeunesse, whose jammy,
easy-drinking style is a far cry from
the heavy Concord-based wines that
have become cliché.
As in mainstream wines, new
products and makeovers are impor-
tant to category’s vitality. Toward
this end, Admiral Imports has had
several important introductions of
late. Abarbanel is sporting a brand
new label, with prominent batch
numbers emphasizing craftsmanship
as well as their French roots. The trio
includes old-vine Beaujolais Villages
from Châteua de la Salle, a medium-
bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and a
50/50 Cabernet-Merlot (the latter two
are both from Languedoc and are
mevushal). Admiral’s award-winning
Israeli import, Tishbi, has since 2012
become more clearly delineated into
an Estate range and lower-priced
Vineyard Series. Sweet Layla, an
Italian Moscato, features a radiant
guitar label that will have shoppers
humming Eric Clapton before they
even stop to wonder whether it’s
kosher. Finally, as the importer of
Iceberg Vodka, Admiral will be intro-
ducing three new “Icefusion” flavors
in March: Crème Brûlée, Chocolate
Mint, and Cucumber.
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