Out of hundreds of wineries in the Napa Valley, there are only two kosher ones. We had the pleasure of visiting one, HaGafen Cellars, on our recent trip to California. There were two groups there besides us (people who didn’t even know what kosher wine meant) all getting tastings of their delicious wine.
The man working there also gave us a tour of the small facility. We saw that the soil was actually seeds of the grapes – they reuse them because they make the soil fertile there. We saw the aging barrels in one room next to the giant fermenting tanks.
If you find yourself in Napa, visit Hagafen and make sure to taste their wines! We walked away with a few bottles and two new wine glasses. I think I want to join their wine club, too!
Kosher wine has a bad reputation, people think they make it differently, and they really used to. The thing about kosher wine is that it can’t be touched by a non-Jew, so the whole process has to be done by Jews. Wine is holy, and in the past, it was used in idol worship. The law makes sure that Jewish people don’t take part in these ceremonies.
A loophole to this law is boiling the wine, this way a non-Jew can touch or pour it without it becoming unkosher. That’s where the thought that kosher wine is bad comes from – people thought that boiling took away from the flavor. Now, they use flash-pasteurization, so the flavor is pretty much intact. So now you can have your non-Jewish friends pour you wine and it will still be kosher.