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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> What is Kosher Wine ?

Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wines
The World's 500 Best Kosher Wines

With kosher wines now competing comfortably with many of the best wines of the world, an increasingly large audience has come to realize that there need be no contradiction whatsoever between a wine of high quality and a kosher wine.

Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wines is the definitive annual guide to the 500 best kosher wines (from 14 counties) tasted each year by internationally renowned critic Daniel Rogov. In addition to detailed tasting notes on each of the wines, the guide includes information on what makes a wine kosher, how to host wine-tasting parties and a glossary of wine terminology.

For many years, simply mentioning kosher wines let to not-at-all complimentary humor, if not outright scorn.  Those days are happily gone forever and, with kosher wines of the world, are increasingly large audience has come to realize that there need be no contradiction whatsoever between a wine of high quality and a kosher wine.

Highlights included:

  • 150 pages filed with useful information in full color
  • An introduction to wine regions and grape varietals
  • Vintages Reports for the past decade
  • Critical rating of 500 wines
  • Symbols for easy reference
  • A full glossary of wine terminology
  • A guide to organizing tasting parties

Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wines 2010 (Hardcover)


Also see: On-line Kosher Wine Store

Kosher Wine

Kosher wine results only when wine is produced according to Judaism's religious law, specifically, the Jewish dietary laws of (kashrut), and then is known as "kosher wine".

In general, kashrut deals with avoiding specific forbidden foods, none of which are normally used in winemaking, so it might seem that all wines are automatically "kosher". However, because of wine's special role in many non-Jewish religions, the kashrut laws specify that wine cannot be considered kosher if it might have been used for "idolatry".

Some of these concepts include:

Yayin Nesekh (Wine that has been poured to an idol, or with idolatry in mind.)

Stam Yainom (Wine that may have been touched by someone who might believe in idolatry, but wouldn't have had it in mind at the time of contact.)

When kosher wine is mevushal ("cooked" or "boiled"), it thereby becomes unfit for idolatrous use and will keep the status of kosher wine even if subsequently touched by an idolater.

In recent times, there has been an increased demand for kosher wines and a number of wine producing countries now produce a wide variety of sophisticated kosher wines under strict rabbinical supervision, particularly in Israel, the United States, France, Italy and South Africa. Two of the world's largest producers and importers of kosher wines, Kedem and Manischewitz, are both based in the northeast of the USA.

When sold commercially

When kosher wine is produced, marketed and sold commercially to Orthodox Jews, it must have the hechsher ("seal of approval") of a supervising agency or organization (such as the "OU" sign of the Orthodox Union), or of an authoritative rabbi who is preferably also a posek ("decisor" of Jewish law) or be supervised by a beth din ("Jewish religious court of law") according to Orthodox Judaism.

Role of wine in Jewish holidays and rituals

Almost all Jewish holidays, especially the Passover Seder where all present drink four cups of wine, on Purim for the festive meal, and on the Shabbat require obligatory blessings over filled cups of kosher wine that are then drunk. At Jewish marriages, circumcisions, and at Redemption of First-born ceremonies, the obligatory blessing of Borei Pri HaGafen ("Blessed are you O Lord, Who created the fruit of the vine") is almost always recited over kosher wine (or grape juice.)

According to the teachings of the Midrash, the "forbidden fruit" that Eve ate and which she gave to Adam was the grape from which wine is derived. The capacity of wine to cause drunkenness with its consequent loosening of "inhibitions" is described by the ancient rabbis in Hebrew as nichnas yayin, yatza sod ("wine enters, [and one's personal] secret[s] exit".) Another similarly evocative expression relating to wine is: Ein Simcha Ela BeBasar Veyayin ("There is no joy except through [eating] meat and [drinking] wine".

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.