“Hey! Keep that glass of kosher wine away from me!” This is a common remark that you’re bound to hear from someone within the crowd. They are mostly known as the wine snobs, people who have this caustic remark dangling on their lips as if kosher wine was made from floor sweepings. Nonetheless, this just portrays their ignorance about this fine wine and how blinded they are by the myths that surround it. Kosher wine production has seen a drastic increase over the past two decades, a fact that vouches for its global popularity.
Here are some myths and their factual clarifications:
Let’s just have this confusion sorted out at the very beginning. The taste of regular and kosher wine is similar. However, there are certain differential points between the two.
The Hebrew term “kosher” means “fit,” indicating kosher wine to be a drink that is fit for Jews. Wine doesn’t necessarily have to be blessed by a rabbi to become kosher. However, the grapes used to make kosher wine have to be in sync with the Jewish dietary laws (kashruth), which are set standards for preparing wine and food. The production process, from crushing the grapes to bottling the final product, is strictly handled by Jewish individuals. Separate sets of equipment are used for making kosher wine.
At their inception, kosher wines were only processed under the supervision of rabbinic authorities. The presence of the rabbinic authority is meant to bless the wine all throughout the production. According to myth, wines handled by pagans were blessed by their gods like Zeus or Bacchus. Rabbis, on seeing this, decided to spiritually neutralize their wine, which is vital for Jewish rites of passage.
Remember, being kosher is absolutely irrelevant to the quality of a wine. This can work both ways. Kosher wine isn’t bad just because it’s kosher, but one that is badly processed is definitely a bad kosher wine. It is the same with regular wines. There have been instances when top-notch critics have rated kosher wines with scores above 90.
This wine is approved by the kashruth, or the Jewish dietary laws.
In this case, the kashruth is stricter. It may be that yayin mevushal (cooked wine) and sweet kiddush wines have impacted the reputation of kosher wines.
Most kosher wines are “kosher for Passover,” meaning that the wine never came into contact with grain or yeast products. The sales of kosher wines obviously rise during Passover. Today, people don’t associate kosher wines with just occasional festivities, but they also like pairing it with dishes like spaghetti or hamburgers.
Production Conditions & Where to Find Good Quality Kosher Wine
All kosher wines have to be devoid of animal-based additives, in addition to the other conditions already stated above. However, in Israel, these conditions are more stringent. You will find kosher wines in almost all wine producing countries, but the U.S. is where it is in abundance.