11 July 2019, The Tablet

L’chaim: cheers to kosher wine

L’chaim: cheers to kosher wine

A recent visit of Orthodox Jewish colleagues from Jerusalem sent me for the first time in search of kosher wine. To my surprise, most of the supermarkets stock it, and even many small, independent wine merchants, albeit neither in great abundance.

Much kosher wine is, unsurprisingly, Israeli from the hills of Judaea. But I also discovered that some of the great châteaux of Bordeaux have kosher versions, produced by teams of Jewish employees under rabbinic supervision. As well as France and Israel, kosher wine is now made in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Portugal and, of course, the United States, the second largest producer after Israel.

If you have never drunk kosher wine, you may be wondering, as I was, if it tastes differently from non-kosher wine. The answer is “not at all”. Apart from the fact that kosher wine is, for reasons that will become apparent, vegan, what chiefly differentiates it is not the quality or the method of production, but the conditions under which it is produced.

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