November 2, 2015

Mashgiach Turned Kosher Wine Educator Sees Significant Growth for Kosher Wine

Monsey NY - Yehoshua Werth, 43, is the manager of the Grapevine Wines & Spirits in Rockland County but his real passion is to educate kosher consumers about today’s exciting world of kosher wine. Born in Fresno, CA, Yehuda first ventured into kosher by managing several Jewish stores including two kosher food stores. When he moved to New York, he worked as a mashgiach for a variety of kashrus agencies. But while he cut his teeth on a variety of other businesses, the passion for good wine has been with him since he was a teenager when he tasted some of the best wines in the world in his uncle’s store in Colorado. In the last few years, he has become a wine educator, organizing 22 wine events with the average attendance being 50 people. “I very much want people to connect our roots to the wine that is sourced so much in our Torah, used at our simchas, Shabbos and every holiday through the year,” says Yehoshua.

Wines at his seminars range in price from $9 - $85. He focuses on the country, soil, style and grape varietals and does comparisons. For example, consider Shiraz grape wine from France,  Israel and California, each aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. He asks the audience: “Do they taste the same? Do they smell the same? Do they feel the same in each person’s mouth when we drink them?” The answer is mostly no; but a yes in 20-40% of the audience could be an answer too! “Training the untrained person to see, smell, taste and feel the difference so all will have a better Shabbos, Yom Tov and Simchas is what I am about,” he says. His goal is to get people to drink more kosher wine “not because it’s kosher, but because the wine is great and holds value at the dinner table.” Kosher wines nowadays are getting great scores from multiple magazines, up to 93/100 points now in Israel, and as high as 95/100 points has been secured in Spain and France. So how does he see the future of kosher wine? “The overall direction of growth and respect of kosher wines is good. Israel for sure needs a wine ambassador and some government help to push things to the next level. As the trend of kosher wines continues to improve, and with more varietals available (kosher wine cannot live off Moscato and Cabernet Sauvignon) we are at a breakout point.”