There is a growing concern of food quality and what is available in the market these days. Wine, as a way to add spice and to enlighten our lives; has also become one of the items being added with food chemicals due to the profitable margins. There are a wide range of different qualities of wine in the market and how do we tell which one is food additives free?
We were fascinated when we learnt about the Israeli practices and customs; the Jewish people's styles and their persistent pursuit of their religious beliefs. We discovered that in this unique place on Earth, there are so many good examples for us to learn and follow. Among those is the wine making and brewing, which is under strict and stringent regulations which are beyond our imagination.
If you are like us, pursuing for better quality and taste; the KOSHER certified wine which is produced under harsh production conditions and strict quality control, will certainly surprise and not disappoint you.
Kosher wine (Hebrew: יין כשר, yayin kashér) is grape wine produced according to Judaism's religious law, specifically, Jewish dietary laws (kashrut).
To be considered kosher, a Sabbath-observant Jew(s) must supervise and handle the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until the wine is bottled and any ingredients used, including finings, must be kosher. Wine that is described as "Kosher for Passover" must have been kept free from contact with chametz, examples being grain, bread and dough.
It would normally have a hechsher ("seal of approval") of a kosher certification agency, or of an authoritative rabbi who is preferably also a posek ("decisor" of Jewish law), or be supervised by a beth din ("Jewish religious court of law").
The traditional and religious use of wine continued within the Jewish diaspora community. Beginning in the 1980s, a trend towards producing dry, premium-quality kosher wines began with the revival of the Israeli wine industry. Our wines are produced through the holy hands by the grapes of Canaan, the promised land.
To obtain Kosher certification for wines, the winery must follow the following rules:
From the moment the grapes are transported to the winery, only the Jewish people who follow the Sabbath can handle the wine and come in contact with the brewing equipment. Therefore, Jewish winemakers who do not follow Judaism are not allowed to handle the wine. This is very frustrating for those who like to be hands-on, yet the process goes a great length to ensure and preserve the quality of wine even if such practice is troublesome.
The whole process of wine-making must comply with kosher rules and can only use kosher-certified materials. Such as the pure and beneficial Yeast ingredient is also subject to Kosher certification and is prohibited from livestock by-products. Some Kosher wines are quite suitable for vegetarians to drink – those which do not use egg white to bind the filtered Kosher wines are also suitable for the consumption of strict vegetarians.
Kosher certified wines are divided into the following three categories:
Kosher certification: only allowed to be awarded to Jews who comply with Jewish diet law. Generally, it is marked on the back of the product label "by the Jewish supervision".
Kosher for Passover: These wines do not come into contact with bread, grain or not made with fermented dough. Most of the Kosher-certified wines are also "Passover Kosher Certified Wines".
Kosher Le Mehadrin: Awarded to wine which comply strictly to the Jewish Diet teachings. Kosher is a pioneer in ISO 9000 quality management system certification. This certificate guarantees that the wine meets the appropriate standards, and everything used in the brewing process is recorded and the source of their origin can be traced.
In Israel - Eretz Ha 'Kodesh (Holy Land), Kosher certified wine producers also have to comply with the following agricultural regulations, which originated in the biblical era of agricultural society.
Orlah: The fruit of the newly planted grapes in the first three years must not be used for wine making. The winemaker allows the use of vines in the fourth year of the grapes. Interestingly, most of the grape growers will not use the grapes of the new vines for the first few years due to the quality outcome of the grapes.
Kilai Ha'Kerem: Hybridization. It is forbidden to plant any vegetables, fruits, grains and beans between grapes.
Shmittah Sabbath: In the Bible there is such a law, a land must go into resting every seven years. However, due to economic reasons, there are some innovative ways to solve this situation. These solutions are recognized between the rabbi and the winery, to some extent flexible.
Terumot & Ma'aserot: This is a symbolic ritual. One percent of the wine will be drained to commemorate the temple that was dedicated to Jerusalem at that time. It is difficult for these rules to explain the matter to the non-Jews. The land and the workers have a Sabbath and a portion of the harvested crops offered freely to those who need it. These reflect the advance development of the biblical society. These practices are the most mysterious thing between the spiritual and material world, and today these practices are preserved and will continue.
The word Kosher should not carry a slight meaning of a lack of quality. To know the harvest of grapes, fermentation, ageing of wine, mixing and bottling process are in accordance with the Kosher certification rules of the standard brewing process, these rules do not affect the quality of wine. For the Jews, Kosher-certified wines are essential, but there is no technical reason why people are intuitive to think that Kosher-certified wines are not as good as non-Kosher certified wines. At Robert Parker’s "Wine Advocate" for the first time to publish the taste of the Israeli wine, the wineries which received the highest rating are those which specializes in the production of Kosher-certified wine! This tells us that fine wine is made of exquisite workmanship, elaborated, otherwise it is not.