We're two nights deep into Chanukah and it feels like the right time to talk about kosher wine. I ended up sipping on the 'schewitz last night due to an unfortunately corked kosher wine incident at my friend's place, which got me thinking about kosher wines in general. Now, while Manischewitz is the O.G. kosher wine, it has a reputation for its infamously sweet, grape-y flavor. It's fruit juice for big kids and while some doth protest about drinking it, secretly everyone has a soft spot for Manny.
However, there is a whole world of kosher wine to explore and while I'm not familiar with any particular wines, I find the kosher approach fascinating.
Kosher wines can be certified in one of two ways: Meshuval or Non-meshuval. Both wines must be harvested by observant Jews and have production overseen by a rabbi. However, meshuval wines go through a process where they are quickly heated to boiling point then cooled; essentially, they are considered pasturized wines. While there is concern that flash heating a wine in that manner will cook it, newer technology ensures that for the most part, quality will not be compromised. If a wine is meshuval, anyone can handle and serve the wine (read: non-Jews).
On the other hand, non-meshuval wines do not go through the pasturization process and therefore must only be handled and served by observant Jews. In Orthodox and Hasidic communities this probably isn't a major concern but talk about staffing issues if you leave the neigborhood.
I'm interested in trying out some of these kosher wines. Does anyone out there have any experiences to share or wines to recommend?