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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hanukkah Wines

Q: Our family is celebrating Hanukkah. What makes a wine kosher, and how do we select a good kosher wine?

A: Wine is deeply rooted in the celebration of Hanukkah, and the wine consumed during Hanukkah must be kosher. Kosher wine follows the strict guideline of dietary laws called kashrut. Below is a brief description of what makes a wine kosher.

The techniques used to make kosher wine are the same as those used to produce other wines; however, it must be made with only kosher ingredients, and it cannot come into contact with anything that is not kosher. A Sabbath-observant Jewish man must be involved in the processing and handling of the wine from harvest to bottling. The grapes used to make the wine must have been handled by a Sabbath-observant Jewish man, and the equipment used must be rabbinically certified without previous contact with non-kosher products. A non-Jew is not allowed to touch any of the equipment or raw products, and a rabbi must bless the facility and its wine. In addition, the label on the bottle must also have a hechsher, which is a seal that indicates kosher approval. An example of a hechsher is the “OU” symbol representing the Orthodox Union.

Mevushal wine is a type of kosher wine in which an extra step is taken during its production. It is heated to 194 degrees Fahrenheit; it is then deemed clean, even if non-Jews have handled it. This is the type of kosher wine that is typically served in restaurants.

Many wineries are now making kosher wines, so it is easier today to find a wide variety of kosher choices. Choose wines from Israel, made in the regions of Golan Heights, Yarden, or Upper Galilee. If you prefer to go with domestic kosher wines, try Herzog Wine Cellars or Hagafen Cellars, both located in California, the Kedem Winery in New York, or Manischewitz, a popular brand of kosher wines made in New York.

Happy Hanukkah!

Grape Girl Debbie

Do you have a wine related question?

Debbie Jones, CSW
Senior Wine Consultant

Since November 2010, Debbie Jones has been the Senior Wine Consultant for Grape Crush Productions. Debbie is an integral part to the development of our wine tasting programs and ensures all of our amazing volunteers are well educated on the wonderful wines that they help pour at our events. Whether at our private tastings or major community events, she's always eager to share her love for wine with others. An Atlanta native, she holds the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) credential from the Society of Wine Educators and has been actively involved for years in wine and food events throughout the city.

1 comment:

Winery Accommodation Victoria said...

My pleasure to know a little about that celebration. Thanks.