Kosher Wine

By Adam Jones – https://www.flickr.com/photos/adam_jones/26957059455/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62558055

Jewish law, or halacha, separates their drinkable wine into two categories: kosher or mevushal.  Because of the very strict and often difficult requirements to make kosher wine, most Jews have accepted mevushal wine. So what is this you may ask?  Mevushal wine has been brought to a near boiling temperature to religiously purify it for the standpoint of handling.  Only in this case can a Gentile (non-Jew) handle and pour the wine for a Jew.  

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On the other hand, kosher wine, to be considered such, must have an observant Jew processing all the necessary wine-making steps from the moment the juice leaves the grapes. If there is automation and machinery involved, then pushing the required buttons may be the only requirement for the mashgiach in this operation.  If the wine is produced by the hassidic branch of Jews, then their requirements preclude any Gentile from even looking at the wine while it is processed.  

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Finally, there are certain ingredients that traditional wine makers add to their barrels that do not meet kosher standards.  And in these cases there are usually substitutions and alternatives.  For the complexities involved, especially since observant Jews cannot perform their necessary duties on Shabbat (the jewish Sabbath), or holy days, there have been few success stories in the kosher wine business.

As for the names given to wines that cannot be consumed by observant Jews, this includes setam-yenam (the wine of Gentiles or non-Jews) and yayin-nesech (the wine of Gentile idolators and pagans).

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