On Wednesday, Aug. 22, in synagogues around the world, the first of the pre-Rosh HaShanah shofar blasts were blown, to note the beginning of the month of Elul. For the kosher wine industry, those shofar blasts were like a starters’ pistol, marking the beginning of an annual race to bring the new crop of kosher wines to the market. During the next month (and during the month before Passover) more kosher wine will be sold than at any times during the year.
A recent visit to Israel has reaffirmed our enthusiasm for the Holy Land’s developing wine culture. New wineries seem to crop up every week, and there is a palpable sense that enjoying wine is becoming as fundamental to Israelis as their love of coffee.
While wine bars are not yet as numerous as the coffee shops, they’re certainly growing more crowded. Wine lists at restaurants are likewise ever more thoughtful, with an improving range and better alignment with chefs’ cuisine. Even wine selections in supermarkets have grown.
The country’s winemakers weigh in on what’s been called a ‘quality revolution, ’how it all got started, and whether the kosher label is a burden.
Joshua E. London
Special To The Jewish Week
‘Israeli wine is an amazing story,” says Adam Montefiore, the wine development director of the Carmel Winery, Israel’s largest wine producer. “Jews came to this land, made the desert bloom, started planting vineyards, making wine, and in doing so began reclaiming their heritage and reviving this ancient wine producing region.”