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Kosher Wine & Liquor At Empire WineSM

Kosher Wine Description

Winemaking started where Israel and Lebanon are located today, in a time long before the wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux. In Jewish history, kosher wine has played a great sacramental role. Following the diaspora, the dispersion of the Jewish people from Israel after the Roman conquest, cultural practices were brought with them around the world. In today’s world, kosher wines are produced in the most famous wine-producing countries. Check out our amazing selection!

There isn’t necessarily a taste difference between kosher and non-kosher wines. However, kosher wines must follow Kashrut laws, which are a set of dietary requirements. There are also a number of different styles to be aware of.

More info and FAQ below

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Frequently Asked Questions About Kosher Wine

What’s the difference between kosher and non-kosher wine?

Kosher wines are those produced according to Jewish dietary laws, which are known as Kashrut. Every single stage of kosher wine production, from harvest to bottling, should be overlooked by Sabbath-observant Jews. When it comes to any additives being added to the wine, they must count on kosher certification. Whenever a wine is labeled with the kosher certification (or hechsher), it means a specific agency or a rabbi has guaranteed its process.

Are there other types of kosher wine?

Yes, there are other types of kosher wine, such as mevushal wine and wine that is kosher for Passover. Mevushal wine is made by boiling the wine, thus allowing it to remain kosher even after coming into contact with or being handled by non-Jewish people or those who are non-observant. The act of boiling the wine kills the mold that is present on the grapes, but care is taken to make sure that the boiling doesn’t alter the tannins. However, this type of kosher wine can sometimes be likened to being nothing more than overcooked grape juice. The other type of kosher wine is wine that is kosher for Passover. This Jewish holiday marks the Jewish exodus from Egypt, and Jews cannot eat chametz – namely, any food that’s made using leavening agents.

Are all Israeli wines kosher?

Although Israel is the birthplace of kosher wine and there is a history of Israeli vineyards being grown from more than 2,000 years ago, not all Israeli wine is kosher.

All throughout Jewish history, kosher wine has played a great sacramental role. During the Ottoman rule, many of these original vineyards vanished, and during the 19th century, Jewish settlers in Israel, the Holy Land, planted vines to replace them. This historic moment marks the advent of the modern wine industry in what is now Israel.

Information About Kosher Wine

The history behind kosher wine

In the United States, kosher wine is made from the Concord grape variety (not to be confused with the Vitis Vinifera grape, which is quite common), and has risen in popularity as a slightly sweet wine. Here, many of the largest kosher winemaking businesses are located on the East Coast, one of them being Manischewitz. Californian wineries especially have moved to create high-quality kosher wine, including the Baron Herzog and Hagafen wineries, both located in Napa Valley, where they have been producing remarkable wines from different grape varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Their white wines also deserve a mention, and are produced mostly from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes.

Did you know?‘Kosher’ translates literally to ‘suitable’ and comes from the Hebrew ‘ר‎כש (kashér),’ meaning if something is kosher, it is ‘suitable’ under Kushrat law.

Several other countries besides the US have also adopted the processes involved in kosher winemaking in response to increased demand. Kosher winemaking estates can be found in Italy, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, and France. However, Israeli wine has a very good reputation and has become increasingly well-known. This is thanks to Israeli wine producers such as Domaine Castel, Barkan, and Yarden, who produce everything from Rosé to sweet wines.

Although most kosher wines are easy-drinking, many fail in comparison to a great Burgundy or Bordeaux. Nonetheless, as we pride ourselves on tracking down wines from unlikely places and producers, we’re excited to source some truly outstanding kosher wines. In the U.S., many Jewish wine collectors who are all too familiar with the kosher wine selection, which has a bit of a way to go, especially when looking for wines for special occasions like family events and Passover. So, instead of tracking down simply drinkable kosher wines, we’re setting out to create great wines that just so happen to be kosher.

Did you know?* The son of Château Lafite’s owner, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, brought his French winemaking knowledge to Israel. Well-known French grape varieties such as Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon are still common varieties found there today.

What are the requirements for being kosher?

Wine holds a special place in non-Jewish religions as well, and because of this, the laws of Kashrut specify that wine can’t be kosher if it may have been used for other forms of worship. This includes wine that’s been poured in the service of idolatry, Yayin Nesekh (יין נסך), or wine that has been produced by non-Jewish people or touched by those who believe in idolatry. If kosher wine has been boiled prior to bottling, known as yayin mevushal (יין מבושל – “cooked” or “boiled”), it will remain a kosher wine, as it’s then unfit for idolatrous use.

The ingredients used in wine production are not in themselves considered non-kosher – the alcohol, phenols, acidity, and sugars. What the Kashrut laws are the most concerned about is who it is that handles the wine and what is used to produce it. Only Jews who observe the Sabbath may produce wine for it to be considered kosher. This extends from when the liquids are separated from the grape pulp to when it’s pasteurized, and finally, when they seal the bottles. Wine that is suitable or kosher for Passover must be separated from chametz; in other words, kept away from leavening agents. The types of foods this kosher Passover wine must not be in contact with include legumes, items derived from corn, dough, bread, and grains.

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