When it comes to kosher wine, there are numerous misconceptions and one of the widest spread one is that this is a certain style of wine. The truth is that just any kind of wine could be made kosher in case it has been prepared according to the Jewish laws of wine making.
Another really popular misconception is that the wine needs to be blessed by a rabbi. It is important to remember that there is no religious blessing involved in the process.
The wine just needs to be certified as kosher to make sure that the wine is in accordance with the Jewish dietary laws.
The concept of a rabbi blessing the wine is similar to thinking that the USDA blesses the steaks.
There are some rules that need to be kept in mind when preparing kosher wine.
The equipment and tools used in the process must be kosher, meaning that they cannot be involved in the making of non-kosher wine.
The wine must be handled by Sabbath-observant Jews during the entire process, except the case when the wine is mevushal.
The ingredients of the wine must be kosher, including the yeast, gelatin, casein, isinglass and other products used in the process. This is why the majority of the kosher winemakers are using bentonite for fining which is uncommon to regular wine making.
In case of Israel there are some special rules that apply because of the Jewish laws. Naturally these regulations do not apply outside the country. Here the wine has to be at least four years old and the vineyard has to be left fallow once every seven years. The vineyard can only be used to grow grapes and no other agricultural plants.
The reason for which only Sabbath-observant Jews are allowed to handle the wine is that the Jew people didn’t want to have wine that might have been used in pagan religious activities. The non-Jews weren’t really trusted so there was need for someone to supervise the procedures.
The majority of kosher wine is made mevushal, or pasteurized. In case of white wine this happens before fermentation, while in case of red wine, it happens after. In our days this process is a quick one, and without the actual boiling of the wine.
While in the past people have boiled it, in our days there are some other methods as well, to make sure that the flavor will not be altered.
The wine that is usually served at special occasions is mevushal. This happens so because in many cases the caterers might be non-Jews, and if they would handle the wine, it would become non-kosher. The pasteurized wine might be handed by just any person, and it still remains kosher.
To find kosher wine, you will have to be looking for a U inside a circle. This symbolizes that the wine in question is kosher. Also you might find some wine that have a K inside a circle. This symbol also certifies that it is kosher. The K could also be found in a star, and this symbol has the same meaning.