Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:21 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but I have never looked into this before. Are the grapes grown differently? Is the wine made differently? Both?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby Daniel Rogov » Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:27 pm

Jenise wrote: Are the grapes grown differently? Is the wine made differently? Both?


Jenise, Hi.....

To answer the above questions in one word - neither.

As to the broader issue, of what makes a wine kosher, first of all, there are some differences between what makes a wine kosher in Israel and what makes it kosher outside. Simply stated, not all of these rules are enforced outside of Israel. From my own little book:


In order for an Israeli wine to be certified as kosher, several requirements must be met. As can easily be seen, none of these requirements has a negative impact on the quality of the wine being produced and several are widely acknowledged to be sound agricultural practices even by producers of non-kosher wines.

1. According to the practice known as orla, the grapes of new vines cannot be used for winemaking until the fourth year after planting.

2. No other fruits or vegetables may be grown in between the rows of vines.

3. After the first harvest, the fields must lie fallow every seventh year. Each of these sabbatical years is known as shnat shmita.

4. From the onset of the harvest only kosher tools and storage facilities may be used in the winemaking process, and all of the winemaking equipment must be cleaned to be certain that no foreign objects remain in the equipment or vats.

5. From the moment the grapes reach the winery, only Sabbath observant Jews are allowed to come in contact with the wine. Because many of the winemakers in the country are not Sabbath observant, this means that they cannot personally handle the equipment or the wine as it is being made and are assisted in several of their more technical tasks by Orthodox assistants and kashrut supervisors.

6. All of the materials (e.g. yeasts) used in the production and clarification of the wines must be certified as kosher.

7. A symbolic amount of wine, representing the tithe once paid to the Temple in Jerusalem, must be poured away from the tanks or barrels in which the wine is being made.

Oh yes..... to set aside a possible misunderstanding, not all of the wines produced in Israel are kosher. The large and medium-sized wineries do produce only kosher wines, not necessarily out of religious belief but because most supermarket chains stock only kosher items and a great many wines are sold at supermarkets. The majority of the smaller, boutique and artisanal wineries do not produce kosher wines. And indeed, the days when kosher wines all resembled the stuff sold by Manischewitz are long gone. Some people still drink those things but that more out of a sense of tradition than of need, and Israel, is moving in the same directions as most other fine wine producing countries - from sweet and semi-dry to dry, from white to red, and most important, in the direction of ever improving wines and that whether the wines are kosher or not.


Hope that clarifies a bit. If you have more questions, just jump right in......

Best
Rogov
User avatar
Daniel Rogov
Resident Curmudgeon
 
Posts: 12964
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Re: Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:15 pm

A couple of questions:

1. Can cover crops (e.g. grasses) be grown between the rows of vines, as long as they are not fruits or vegetables?

2. The every 7th year fallow rule doesn't man the vines have to be grubbed up I hope - just untended?

3. So if there is a winemaking issue requiring an intervention on the Sabbath I take it the wine is either left to its own devices or declared non-kosher if someone intervenes to handle the problem?

4. Can the symbolic pouring out be a bleeding of excess juice from the tanks to concentrate the must?

5. Pardon me if I bungle the spelling - but I've heard meshuval in reference to kosher wine. What is it? Does it involve flash heating?

Thanks for the education.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21991
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby Mike BG » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:31 am

David M. Bueker wrote:A couple of questions:

1. Can cover crops (e.g. grasses) be grown between the rows of vines, as long as they are not fruits or vegetables?

As far as I know, yes; as long as the crops do not produce anything edible.

2. The every 7th year fallow rule doesn't mean the vines have to be grubbed up I hope - just untended?

No!!
Mike BG
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:25 pm
Location: Maale Adumim, Israel

Re: Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:52 am

Can cover crops (e.g. grasses) be grown between the rows of vines, as long as they are not fruits or vegetables?


Indeed grasses can be grown between the rows. All is well as long as these are not "harvestable crops"

The every 7th year fallow rule doesn't man the vines have to be grubbed up I hope - just untended?


No digging up the crops. Even allowed to tend the vines so long as no grapes are harvested.

So if there is a winemaking issue requiring an intervention on the Sabbath I take it the wine is either left to its own devices or declared non-kosher if someone intervenes to handle the problem?


Correct. Fortunately a good deal today is controlled by computers with special Sabbath clocks that allow some processes to continue on their own without human intervention. This is so strictly adhered to that if a tank was to overflow on the Sabbath and wine running out to the floor all that could be done is to clean up the mess on Sunday. Cannot even stop the flooding process! Tradition and religious needs may not always meet the requirements of logic and/or common sense. One either believes or one does not.

Can the symbolic pouring out be a bleeding of excess juice from the tanks to concentrate the must?


Nope. The process is done well after fermentation has been completed.

... I've heard meshuval in reference to kosher wine. What is it? Does it involve flash heating?


Again from my book:

The Question of Wines that are Mevushal

Some observant Jews demand that their wines be pasteurized (mevushal), especially in restaurants and at catered events, where there is the possibility that a non-Jew may handle the wine. This tradition dates to ancient times, when wine was used by pagans for idolatrous worship: the Israel-ites used to boil their wines, thus changing the chemical composition of the wine so that it was considered unfit for pagan worship. Wines that are mevushal have the advantage that they can be opened and poured by non-Jews or Jews who are not Sabbath observant.

Today, mevushal wines are no longer boiled. After the grapes are crushed, the common practice is to rapidly raise the temperature of the liquids to 176–194 degrees Fahren-heit (80–90 Celsius) in special flash pasteurizing units, hold it there for under a minute and then return the temperature, equally rapidly, to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius).

There is no question but that modern technology has re-duced the impact of these processes on the quality of the wine, but most winemakers and consumers remain in agreement that, with very few exceptions, wines that have been pasteurized lose many of their essential essences, of-ten being incapable of developing in the bottle and quite often imparting a “cooked” sensation to the nose and palate.

Some wines are produced in both regular and mevushal versions, the mevushal editions destined for the export market or for the highly observant within Israel.

Simply stated, a wine that is mevushal is no more or less kosher than a wine that is not, and none of the better wines of Israel today fall into this category. Those who are concerned with such issues will find the information they require on either the front or rear labels of wines produced in the country.


Added to that, to the best of my knowledge there is only one winery in the world that manages to produce on a regular basis mevushal wines that do not fall into any of the traps and that is Hagafen winery in Napa Valley.


Again, if further clarification is required, please jump in and ask.

Best
Rogov
User avatar
Daniel Rogov
Resident Curmudgeon
 
Posts: 12964
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Re: Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby Menachem S » Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:00 am

Nice to see people asking rather than assuming!

Thanks
User avatar
Menachem S
Wine guru
 
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Educate me: how does wine achieve kosherness?

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:13 am

Menachem S wrote:Nice to see people asking rather than assuming!

Thanks


No problem. There have been discussions of kosher wine on eBob, but there end up being so many "I think" and "maybe" qualifiers that it's not all that helpful. The entire area of kosher requirements is interesting to me, as I have several good friends who are observant. It's good to understand.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21991
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut


Return to Israeli and Kosher Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests