Kosher wines are no
longer relegated to the sticky-sweet white wines that you drank at
Passover. Quality wines from all over the world now carry the kosher
certification and are receiving well-deserved praise.
What makes a wine Kosher?
A kosher wine begins like every other – as grapes on a vine. These
grapes may be grown and picked by any one (kosher or non-kosher). But
once grapes reach the winery for crushing, the process is under strict
rabbinal supervision. From crushing through bottling, the wine must be
handled and processed by Sabbath-observing Jews. Barrels and tanks must
be deemed kosher for use. The rabbi or Kashrut trained supervisor must
observe all of the winemaking process and no work can be done on the
Meshuval v. Non-Meshuval
A meshuval wine is one that has been pasteurized, meaning it has been
brought to the boiling point and then cooled. While that sounds like it
makes mevushal wines cooked, that is not quite the case. Newer
technology and modern winemaking use flash pasteurization, where a wine
is brought to the boiling point within seconds and cooled down just as
quickly. In some tastings it is difficult to tell the difference between
mevushal and non-mevushal. After a wine goes through the meshuval
process, it remains kosher no matter what type of handling it receives.
A non-kosher waiter or server can open the wine and it still remains
kosher. Most kosher wines made in the US are meshuval. More non-meshuval
wines are found in Israel, where it is not too difficult for a bottle to
remain in kosher hands after bottling until the time of drinking.
Quality in kosher wines has grown (and continues to grow) by leaps and
bounds. Kosher wines are found from in France, Spain, California, Italy,
New Zealand and Israel. Ratings are increasing by leaps and bounds, and
the wines are focusing on producing quality wine, not just kosher wine.