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

What is kosher wine?

For the Jewish community, wine is not an everyday beverage; 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 to forbid the consumption of wine. The Torah does not exhort abstinence on this subject.

Over the past decade, kosher versions of fine French wines have become increasingly common. This reflects a shift in the way wine is viewed, as it is no longer seen solely as a sacred beverage. Whether red or white, kosher wine differs from other wines in the way it is made.

Les Grappes invites you to discover this tradition from Israel, and unveils the secrets of making kosher wine... a unique technique!

Wine consumption in the Jewish community

As we've seen, wine has always been considered a sacred beverage, consumed only during religious ceremonies. However, there's nothing to prevent its consumption outside a spiritual context. The wine used for rites is essentially sweet white wine, made from raisins.

Since the end of the 20th century, however, we have seen a change in the way kosher wine is consumed. In 1996, Roberto Cohen made it possible for wines from the Golan Heights (a region of Israel) to appear in France. This wine merchant became the leading importer of Israeli wines in France. Imported kosher wine thus became accessible to consumers, and the quality of these wines aroused interest.

Kosher wine is used for sanctification on Shabbat and feast days. It is therefore an important product for religious worship, and in high demand. They are consumed both for prayer and for pleasure. This makes the production of kosher wine a real challenge for producers, who have a new clientele to satisfy.

What is a kosher wine?

Is the wine kosher?

Whether white, red or sparkling, wine is not a product that is kosher to begin with. It becomes kosher through a very specific production process , prior to vinification.

How do you produce a kosher wine?

The special feature of kosher wine is that it is only handled by observant Jews. What's more, all stages of the winemaking process are supervised by sworn rabbinical delegates : the chomers. Sworn in by the consistories of the major cities, they represent the faith.

In this way, the producer works in collaboration with and under the supervision of a rabbinical delegate appointed by the Consistoire de Paris.

Secondly, what distinguishes a bottle of kosher wine from any other is its marking. Wine 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. The product must also bear the logo of the Beth Din (Council of Rabbis), as well as the words " Kosher Le Pessah ", ensuring that the product is recognized as kosher. Finally, the " KBDP " logo can be found on the cap, label, collar and capsule: it guarantees a product manufactured in limited series, specially under rabbinical supervision. It is issued by the Consistoire de Paris. The cork stopper is stamped with the words"kosher" in Hebrew letters.

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

Making kosher wine

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

  1. Be a member of the Jewish community or, failing that, have a representative of the faith on site during winemaking operations.
  2. The winery must have a specific installation that meets the standards required by the Jewish community.

White or red grapes, in their fruity state, are considered kosher, so any farm worker, regardless of denomination, can enter and pick grapes in the vineyard. But once the grapes have passed through the sorting table, only the chomers are allowed to touch them.

The equipment to be used during the winemaking process must be " kosherized ": all containers to be used during the vinification process are subjected to hot water. For example, stainless steel tanks are karshered. For cement vats and oak barrels, the operation consists of filling them with cold water three times in 24 hours: no impure elements must remain in them.

It is the Shorim who control the kosherization of the equipment, and they also intervene during the purification of the storage vats. By their presence, the Shorims guarantee the kosher character of the wine. They play a decisive role here, since no handling must take place in their absence, nor outside the authorized periods.

The religious calendar must also be taken into account, as it gives a certain rhythm to the life of the wine: producers must take into account non-working days, holidays, etc., which often fall during the harvest, as well as the Sabbath, which forbids any intervention.

These production conditions are quite restrictive , and consequently lead to higher production costs and a higher cost price.

Tasting a kosher wine

Kosher wines have more or less the same aromas as non-kosher wines, as the principle of production is not very different. One difference that may appear is in theblending and ageing. Kosher wines are best drunk young. Grape varieties that reveal themselves quickly are preferred. For Bordeaux wines, for example, châteaux will prefer to use Merlot, for its fruity aromas and roundness.

Also, when making kosher wines, there's a tendency to reduce the time spent maturing in new barrels, so as to produce wines that are ready to drink sooner.

What is Kosher Champagne?

Alongside the emergence of kosher wines, we have seen the arrival of kosher Champagnes in France. Many champagne houses, such as Laurent Perrier, are now producing champagnes made according to the Israelite method. To become kosher champagne must be produced in the same way as a kosher red or white wine.

The particularity of the "Mévushal" label

Unlike other kosher wines, Mévushal wine does not become taref (lose its kosher character) if shared with non-observant guests. So, to enable lay people and non-practicing Jews to serve the wine, the wine is rapidly pasteurized. It is then 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 for Shabbat and ceremonies. The word "Mévushal" need not appear on the label.

Choose wines from winemakers who harvest their grapes

At Les Grappes, we've selected our best cashers from harvesting winemakers !
We've set our sights on cashier wines from Maison Koenig and in particular cuvée Alsace Koenig vegan rosé ! Produced exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes, it has a light pink color and a fresh, fruity nose, with hints of blackcurrant and raspberry on the palate.
Find all our kosher wines on Les Grappes

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