What is Kosher Wine?
Kosher wine is a kind of grape wine that is produced according to laws of Judaism. This wine is specially made for the Jews. In Hebrew, Kosher wine is called ‘yayin kashÃ©r’. Before Kosher wine is sold commercially to Orthodox Jews, the wine should secure a seal of approval or what they call the ‘ hechsher’ . According to Orthodox Judaism This seal of approval can be certified by a supervising organization such as the Jewish Orthodox Union or by an authoritative rabbi which they call as the ‘posek’ or by a Jewish religious court of law.
Requirements of a Kosher wine
In addition, in order for it to be considered kosher it has to be harvested, fermented, produced, manufactured and distributed by a Sabbath-observant Jew. In other words, Kosher wine can only be considered authentic if a Sabbath-observant Jew is involved in the whole process of the wine making.
Since a typical kind of wine does not include non kosher ingredients, regular wine is almost just the same as kosher wine. Although Kosher wine should not contain dairy products like casein or ingredients from non-kosher animals like gelatine or isinglass, a regular wine will no longer be considered Kosher if it is used in idolatry or in any act that is not accepted in the laws of Judaism.
Role of Kosher wine in the Jewish Tradition
Kosher wine plays an important role in the Jewish culture and life. Traditionally, Kosher wine is consumed during almost all Jewish holidays. A famous holiday is the Passover Seder where everyone present is required to drink four cups of Kosher wine. Jewish people also drink kosher wine when celebrating Purim and on the Shabbat. Drinking Kosher wine during these occasions is important however if Kosher wine is not available then the Jews can just have challah, a special braided bread eaten during Jewish holidays. Kosher wine is also consumed during wedding celebrations, circumcisions and celebration of Redemption of the First Born ceremony. There is also a chant recited over kosher wine. Jews call is the blessing of Borei Pri HaGafen. In English it is phrased as, “Blessed are you O Lord, Who created the fruit of the vine”.
History of Kosher wine
Wine has already been used since the biblical times. Centuries ago, the Jews occupied the Holy Land which is known to be abundant in grapes. During those years, the Jews grew grapes and made wine as part of their everyday life.
When the Romans conquered their land and were forced to leave their homes to wander in the desert, the Jews were not able to grow grapes and make wine for a long period of time. However that experience in their life never stopped them from having the passion for wine making. Several decades after the Diaspora, the Jews gradually began to find ways to continue their tradition of making and drinking wine. A century after that, Jews who migrated to America found out that grapes are also grown in some areas and began to grow grapes and make wine until it they became famous in making kosher wine all over the world.