Oenologie - Qu’est-ce que le vin casher ? - Les Grappes

What is kosher wine?

For the Jewish community, wine is not an everyday drink, it is reserved for religious ceremonies. As a result, it has long been associated with worship and confined to the religious sphere. However, there is nothing in the texts that forbids the consumption of wine, the Torah does not exhort abstinence on this subject. Thus, over the last ten years, kosher versions of great French wines have appeared. Kosher wine is therefore offered to consumers: it is different from other types of wine because it is made according to certain rules.
We are interested in kosher wines, their production techniques and their taste.

The consumption of wine by the Jewish community

As we have seen, wine has historically been considered a sacred beverage, consumed only during religious ceremonies. However, there is nothing to prohibit its consumption outside the sacred context. It is essentially sweet white wine, made from raisins. However, a change in these consumption practices was observed at the end of the 20th century. Indeed, Roberto Cohen allowed the appearance of Golan wines (a region of Israel) in France in 1996. This merchant became the first importer of Israeli wines in France. The imported kosher wine thus became accessible to consumers: the qualitative data aroused interest in these wines.

Kosher wine is used for sanctification on Shabbat and holidays. It is for these celebrations that David Vineyards has developed its range of kosher wines. It is therefore an important product in the cult, and one that is in high demand. They are consumed both for prayer and for pleasure. The production of kosher wine becomes a real challenge for the producers, it is a new clientele to satisfy.

What is a kosher wine?

The particularity of kosher wine is that it has been handled only by practicing Jews. Moreover, all the stages of vinification have been carried out under the supervision of sworn rabbinical delegates: these are the chomers, sworn in by the consistories of large cities, who represent the cult. Thus, the producer works in collaboration and under the control of a rabbinical delegate mandated by the Consistory of Paris.

Then, what distinguishes a kosher bottle from another bottle is its marking. The bottles bear an indication of their kosher character.

Each kosher bottle must bear the four signs of kashrut: this indicates that the product follows the food code prescribed by the Hebrew Bible. Also, the product must bear the logo of the Beth Din (council of rabbis) and the mention "KosherPesach" which ensures that the product is recognized as kosher. Finally, the "KBDP" logo may be present on the cap, the label, the collar and the capsule: it guarantees a product manufactured in limited series, especially under rabbinic supervision. It is issued by the Paris Consistory and the cork stopper is stamped with the words "Kosher" in Hebrew letters.

Beyond that, the methods of harvesting and vinification are almost the same as for a traditional wine.

The elaboration of the kosher wine

In order to produce kosher wine, you must receive authorization from a Beth Din and meet two conditions:

  1. To be a member of the Jewish community or, failing that, to have a representative of the religion on site during the wine-making process.
  2. To have a specific installation, to the standards required by the Jewish community.

Grapes in fruit form are considered kosher, so any farm worker, regardless of faith, may enter and pick the grapes in the vineyard. But once the grapes pass through the sorting table, only the chomers are allowed to touch them.

The material that will be used during the elaboration must be "kosherized": this means that all the containers that will be used during the vinification process must be put under hot water. For example, stainless steel tanks are karshered. For the cement tanks and the oak barrels, the operation consists in filling them with cold water three times in 24 hours: no impure element must remain there. The Shorim control the kosherization of the material and are also involved in the purification of the storage tanks. The Shorim, by their presence, guarantee the kosher character of the wine. They play a decisive role here, since no handling should take place in their absence, nor outside the authorized periods.

The religious calendar must be taken into account, which to a certain extent gives rhythm to the life of the wine: producers must take into account holidays, feast days... which often fall during the harvest, but also the Shabbat which forbids any intervention.

These conditions of elaboration are rather constraining and consequently give rise to a higher production cost, and a higher cost price as well.

The taste of the wine

Kosher wines have more or less the same taste as non-kosher wines, as the principle of production is not very different. One difference that may appear is in the blending and aging. Indeed, for Bordeaux wines, the tendency is to use a little more Merlot: its fruity aromas and its roundness have conquered consumers.
Also, for the elaboration of cashers wines, there is a tendency to reduce the maturation time in new barrels in order to give wines that are ready to drink more quickly.

The particularity of the "Mévushal" mention

Unlike other kosher wines, Mevushal wine does not become taref (it does not lose its kosher character) if it is shared with non-observant guests. Therefore, in order for lay people and non-observant Jews to be able to serve the wine, the wine is quickly pasteurized. It is heated by flash pasteurization: brought very quickly to 90°C and then very quickly to 0°C before being bottled. This practice is not systematic, but can be useful forShabbat and ceremonies.
The mention "Mevushal" is not mandatory on the label.

Kosher wines at Les Grappes

Les Vignobles David has developed its range of kosher wines in response to a growing demand, particularly for Jewish holiday celebrations or Shabbat. Frédéric pays particular attention to the exchanges between Jews and non-Jews around wine, especially on the complete reorganization of the domain that the labeling implies. Kosher wines deserve to be known!


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