The Jewish Link has released its second annual edition of its wine guide. The Jewish Link Wine Guide, building off its inaugural edition last year, has expanded for this year’s edition. Co-published by Moshe Kinderlehrer and Mendy Schwartz, with editing by Elizabeth Kratz, this year’s Wine Guide features a bunch of articles, which are very helpful for getting a sense of where the kosher wine market is at these days. According to Kinderlehrer’s opening article, “A Year of Growth and Rebirth for Kosher Wine”, he writes that this year’s guide is “double the size of last year’s inaugural edition and is jam-packed with information about amazing steps forward, particularly in kosher wine’s variety and availability, modernization, and the increase in kosher wine education.” Personally, I found it really insightful and educational, as it helped me learn a lot about not only the wineries, but also wine-pricing, wine regions, and more.
Here is a listing of the articles in this publication, along with brief descriptions:
- “Kosher Wines Grow in US Regions” by Dr. Kenneth Friedman – Insightful information on which regions in America where kosher wines grow. Especially for a non-wine specialist such as myself, this was really informative.
- “Trends in Israeli Winemaking” by Channa Fischer – This was cool to see what new trends are happening in Israeli wine-making, including NFTs
- “Variety and Depth at Kosher Wine’s High End” by Elizabeth Kratz – This was neat to read about what Andrew Breskin is doing with his Liquid Kosher business venture in selling expensive kosher wines
- “Welcome to Kosher Burgundy” by Joshua E. London – Incredibly insightful. I never knew how special this region was and how kosher wines are now being made there (honestly, having never tasted wines from this region, it was never on my radar, but I am now intrigued).
- “Old Vines, New Wines” by Elizabeth Kratz – About a kosher winery in Spain with a particular grape varietal.
- “Welcome to The Jewish Link Wine Guide” – …
- “Top Wines Rankings” – various pricing categories:
- Top 25 reds $50-$100
- Top 25 reds $25-$50
- Top 25 reds under $25
- Top 5 whites $50-$100
- Top 5 whites $25-$50
- Top 5 whites under $25
- “Wines to Impress” by Elizabeth Kratz – Bottles of wine that retail for over $100 that they didn’t include in the previous section
- “Wineries of the Year” – 5 kosher wineries that impressed those involved in the guide
- “Innovator Awards” – 5 people involved with the kosher wine industry that impressed those involved in the guide
- “Kosher Wine Education Revolution” by Gamliel Kronemer – It was fascinating to read about how kosher wine education has grown a lot in recent decades and especially years, including a mention of the guest from last week’s episode of The Jewish Drinking Show, Brad du Plessis.
- “Vini Rossi d’Italia” by Gamliel Kronemer – Kosher Italian wines are more than just Bartenura Moscato d’Asti, even if Italian wines are not perceived as high quality as French ones.
- “Cellar Defenders and Hidden Gems: Better Wines for Less” by Yossie Horwitz – Highlighting certain wines to look for that are in the more affordable range but also a good value for such prices
- “The Benefit of Rising Prices” by Yossie Horwitz – basically that rising prices means it makes it more worth it for wineries to pump out really high quality kosher wines at higher price points
- “Building a Home Wine Cellar” by Gamliel Kronemer – Very informative article on not just what it takes to build a home wine cellar, including materials, but also costs. This is also written with some humor involved, as well, and was quite enjoyable for me to read.
In all, this was a fantastic wine guide to read over Shabbas and incredibly informative about the contemporary kosher wine scene. One thing I have to point out, though, is in Kinderlehrer’s opening article, “A Year of Growth and Rebirth for Kosher Wine”, he mentions a Talmudic statement, which is “אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא: כׇּל הַמִּתְיַישֵּׁב בְּיֵינוֹ — יֵשׁ בּוֹ דַּעַת שִׁבְעִים זְקֵנִים. ״יַיִן״ נִיתַּן בְּשִׁבְעִים אוֹתִיּוֹת, וְ״סוֹד״ נִיתַּן בְּשִׁבְעִים אוֹתִיּוֹת. נִכְנַס יַיִן — יָצָא סוֹד” “Rabbi Ḥiyya said: ‘Anyone who is settled with one’s wine possesses the mind-set of 70 elders. Wine was given with [the numerical equivalency of] 70 letters and secret was given with [the numerical equivalency of] 70 letters. When wine enters, a secret emerged” (Eruvin 65a). One thing that Kinderlehrer adds is the notion of not becoming intoxicated. However, that is not what Rabbi Ḥiyya said, whether or not one is intoxicated, it’s certainly phenomenal to behold someone whose mind remains settled amidst a drinking session.
In any event, this publication is available free to download and if you’re interested in kosher wine, I highly recommend this helpful guide.