March 30, 2009

The News on Kosher Wines is no Longer News

New York…The big news on kosher wines is that there is no longer the breaking news that kosher wines for Passover are not just the sweet sacramental wines that were traditional staples on almost every Seder table. In newspapers throughout the country, the focus is on how kosher wines compare and in some cases are better than the non-kosher variety. Wall Street Journal columnists Dottie Gaiter and John Brecher while focusing on Riesling this year summed it up this way: “As we have often said, the world of kosher wine is broad and deep these days, ranging from Champagne and fine Bordeaux to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. But there has always been an interesting postscript: When it comes to kosher wines, the single most consistent varietal, the one kind of wine we almost always like, is Riesling.”
The kosher Riesling honor roll included Gamla (non-mevushal), Gamla (Golan Heights Winery) White Riesling 2007 (Galilee), Hagafen Cellars White Riesling 2007 (Devoto Vineyards, Lake County), Abarbanel Vin d'Alsace Riesling 2004 (France), and Herzog Wine Cellars Late Harvest White Riesling 2006 (Monterey County). Also making news in these days before Passover was the introduction of a kosher tequila for Passover by New York businessman Martin Silver. His company, Star Industries, intends to invest millions of dollars in this enterprise.

Meanwhile, many wine and spirit stores in the US report lower than expected sales for some of the more expensive wines. In Israel, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce predicts a 10%-15% fall from last year when sales of wine and alcohol totaled nearly $90 million. Chambers of Commerce beverage division chairman Dov Feintoch said, "Sales remain constant for Israeli wines in the NIS 25-30 per bottle price range and imported kosher wines in the NIS 20-25 price range. There is a rise in demand for the various types of red wine which comprise 80% of sales and the average price per bottle is NIS 25. Bottles at around this price comprise most of sales in Israel, both imported and locally produced."