Posts Tagged ‘kosher’

Sticky: Peanut butter without the jelly???

Monday, May 26th, 2008

OK, a strange title considering where I am going with this brief post. I attended a wedding last night. The bride is a girl I have known virtually my whole life as our mothers have been close since their high school days. The bride was beautiful, the guests were all jolly, enjoying the holiday weekend & the fabulous weather we’ve suddenly been hit with here in the NY Metro area. The Long Island country club that hosted the event was marvelous, with lush greenery & abundant flowers in bloom. (more…)

“Today’s Bordeaux” tasting event

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I attended this event for the second year in a row at The Altman Building in NY city. The event features 100+ (they say 100, but I’m told it is closer to 110) wines from Bordeaux at reasonable (sub $30) prices. So no Margaux and no Petrus, but some very nice wines for wine professionals to consider for their bar, restaurant … or blog post as the case may be.

I really like this event for a few reasons. (more…)

Kosher Wine Extravaganza – Unusual (but gooood) wines

Sunday, March 30th, 2008


(Picture of Aron Ritter – founder of KOSHER WINE SOCIETY)

I attended the “Kosher Wine Extravaganza” today in Manhattan sponsored by Gotham Wines, one of the largest retailers of kosher wine.  This was the 5th year that this event was held and there seem to be more wines each year.  Out of well over 100 wines I managed to taste 81 of them followed by some Cognac (which I was told I was not allowed to spit) to finish things off.

I could write about the fabulous Israeli Cab or the not so fabulous French Bordeaux, the overrated California red, or awful Israel Merlot (it was BAD) but who cares?!?!! Merlot, Cab, Syrah – been there done that. Come on Wine Tasting Guy, give us something unusual.

Well you want unusual, you got it! (more…)

Kosher Food & Wine Event

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The event took place at the Puck building this past Wednesday evening. What can I say? I was disappointed. I recently wrote about a Chateauneuf du Pape event at Tribeca grill that was absolutely fabulous. No crowds, just enough wine & time to taste everything and very friendly people (even the French winemakers).

The kosher event had more wines, much more food, and took place at a time that was more conducive to drinking wine (in the evening rather than the afternoon). I will readily admit that there was a time before I made the transition to the wine industry that I would have been thrilled with an event like this. But given that i am now more interested in evaluating wines and hearing the stories behind the wines, this kosher event fell short.

The hall was too dark to evaluate color. Samples were being poured from older vintages – and I mean whites, which should be consumed young and fresh. The people pouring the samples were clueless as to what they were pouring (the winemaker was sometimes by his wines table – but often was not). And the crowds. ARGHHHH! One never wants to have to PUSH & SHOVE to get a sample, but this event was not for the timid. I tried not to follow the herds by shoving my glass into the pourers face, but I found that it was a strategy that while rude, it was effective. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I did not want to wait 5-10 minutes with an empty glass. I had a lot of “work” to do, and waiting while others shoved in front of me was going to really hamper my ability to get through as many wines as possible. So I became pushy – NOT something I am proud of. I did however attempt to apologize for my behavior to as many people as possible.

All that said, if you were a wine & food lover without any agenda you should have really enjoyed this event. It was a social scene. There were a tremendous amount of kosher wines, some of which cost about or more than $100 per bottle. There was plenty of food, some of it I hear was pretty good. And there were even some spirits to try. Sadly I did not get a chance to taste the Cognac, but I did try the “kosher for passover” tequila and it was not half bad.

If you were there and enjoyed it, good for you. I hope you discovered a wine which you previously hadn’t been aware of and that you decided you like because you tried it and it worked for YOU!

Now if I can only convince the people throwing the event to allow press/trade to come 3-4 hours early next year rather than only 1 hour early…

Happy KOSHER wine drinking!


Wine Ingredients – should they be posted on the label???

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Bonny Doon, of Santa Cruz CA thinks so. I’m a fan of Bonny Doon wines and I LOVE this move!

“Randall (Grahm – owner of Bonny Doon) feels that it’s important to openly share with consumers any additions made to the wine, and by extension to make other winemakers responsible for [acknowledging] their own additions and interventions,” explained Alison Davies, marketing associate at Bonny Doon. “We hope for a number of results: by stating all the ingredients, this could lead the industry in the direction of full disclosure and encourage winemakers to be more hands-off and less interventionist.”

I’ve stated on several occasions that I observe kosher dietary laws, but when it comes to wine, whose production MAY include problematic products (used for clarifying wines) I have looked the other way, figuring these problematic ingredients are removed from the wine before bottling. And there is virtually no way of knowing which wines are made using some of these problematic items. Until now!

I’ll be thrilled if Bonny Doon is in fact successful in getting other wineries to follow suit and begin to list ingredients on their wines. And who knows, this may become law – which would be GREAT for vegetarians, vegans, kosher consumers, etc…

Have a wonderful week!


Kosher Wine – can it be any good? Ask the “experts”…

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

A few weeks ago I wrote a post for an old friend on his blog “vinoverve”. (The site itself is very informative and has some fabulous contributors. I recommend checking it out.) The post can be found here…

I touched upon some of the misconceptions regarding kosher wine there and will not get into it again here.

What I would like to discuss here are positions stated and brought to my attention by two (or I guess three) people who are well respected in the wine industry.

The first is the opinion of the well regarded Joe Dressner. Dressner is a NY based importer of French & Italian wines. In his blog, (search for kosher for the exact thread) Dressner states “My view has always been that the expression good Kosher wine is an oxymoron.” He seems to base this opinion on the following…

“… the very process of making Kosher wine excludes the possibility that it will be great wine. Only Sabbath observing Jews can make the wine, and not only does this notion smack of some sort of racism, it also eliminates so many of the world’s great winemakers. On what basis — their mother’s weren’t of Jewish origin! Additionally, to be a kosher wine, no one involved in the harvest or vinification can do anything on Friday after sundown or on Saturday during the day. What can possibly be the sense in all this arcane ritual other than religious extremism? All the great vignerons I know work like lunatics during the harvest, often around the clock, and it would be inconceivable to take off in the midst of the vendange.”

“Unfortunately, the harvest doesn’t wait and the vinification is not sabbath observant. Making good wine is horribly complicated and requires rigor in so many little details. To reduce everything to the primacy of having guys who hang about in synagogues on Saturday brings up the more basic question: why bother drinking wine in the first place? … If the religious identity of who makes the wine is more important that what’s in the bottle, it is impossible to create a culture of great wine.”

VERY strong words.

The second opinion was found today on the Mark Squires bulletin board on by contributor and well regarded wine critic Mark Squires. The full thread can be found via the link below, but simply stated, Squires wrote : “I can say Kosher certification seemed to be no impediment at all to making excellent wine“. The context of this quote was that Mark has recently tasted through “pretty much every well known winery, including the tiny boutiques and wines not imported here” and he “expect(s) to have an article on Israeli wines in the next WA”.

Robert Parker, while not commenting on kosher vs. non-kosher himself, actually chimed in briefly and stated that “Mark and I tasted some very fine wines from Israel last Friday….Castel being among the most impressive…Mark has a super article coming up”.

Israeli wines, kosher or not, are obviously of great import and significance to me. This post has gotten too long for me to comment any further, but I thought it was something which needed to be pointed out.

I obviously am eagerly awaiting the pending release of the next Wine Advocate and look forward to reading Mark’s article on Israeli wines.

I wonder if the article will get Dressner to reconsider his position….



Non-“Kosher” ingredients in Wine

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

This is a very detailed and technical discussion, the kosher aspect of which I touched upon in a friends blog a few weeks ago regarding wines from Israel. That post can be found at The topic was also touched upon by a new cyber friend at

The reason I am re-visiting this topic again here is that I received one of the many emails I get from Wine Spectator today, this one being their “Wine & Healthy Living” email.

Contained in this email is a question from “Jane”, whereby Jane asks about ingredients in wine which Vegans might not want to consume. The exact question and answer should be contained in the following link, but it appears not to have been posted there yet .

Since it has yet to be posted, I’ll include it here: “How could a vegan find out which wineries use egg whites for fining their wines?“.

For the record, wineries also use other products for “fining” which are problematic for both kosher observers as well as vegans.

As someone who observes a KOSHER diet (albeit leniently), this is a question which I have researched and that has led to a tremendous dilemma – one I still grapple with.

To keep things as succinct as possible, the truth is that many wineries use one of a few ingredients in SOME wines to “fine” or “clarify” the wine. While this is most common in whites, it is done with many reds as well. How do you know when one such ingredient was used? Well, as Wine Spectator answered Jane, “Current labeling regulations do not require the producer to list the fining agents on the bottle“.

Without getting into the gory details of what ingredients are at times used as fining agents, I’ll end this post with the url provided by the fabulous people over at Wine Spectator. I am not sure how much of a help it is, but it allows me to sidestep this topic for the time being.

Happy Holiday Season…