Jewish Wine from Napa Vines


What makes a wine Jewish?jwine

Well, in the most orthodox, religious terms, it is wine that is kosher, or “fit.” According to the Kosher Wine Review to be considered kosher, a wine must be certified by a rabbinical authority and have been either created, bottled, opened, handled, and poured only by Jews who are religiously observant or treated by a heat process.

In the famed Napa Valley winemaking region in California, there is only one certified kosher winery HaGafen Cellars located on Napas Silverado Trail.

But as the Jewish High Holidays and the harvest season approached, the J, a Jewish-oriented weekly in northern California, found that there is a strong Jewish influence in the vineyards even though the wineries are not making kosher wines.

“Look behind Napa Valleys other labels, and though their names wouldnt give it away, there are quite a number that have Jewish connections,” according to a recent article in the J.

The article estimates that as many 40 of the almost 400 member wineries in the Napa Valley Vintners have an owner, part-owner, winemaker or other key employee who is Jewish.

Many consider themselves only “culturally” Jewish, according to the article, while others found themselves drawn to winemaking because of its roots in Jewish history and tradition.

Ernie Weir, owner of HaGafen Cellars, is quoted in the article as saying that our local synagogue has more winemakers than doctors, which cannot be said about many other places.

Most of the Jewish vintners began as wine hobbyists and then became more serious about their winemaking as time went on, according to the J.

For more about the Jewish winemakers in Napa, check out the J article, Grape Expectations.

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Photo Credit: The J

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