For Passover, Wine Pro Gabriel Geller Explains Kosher Vs Non Kosher Wine
Gabriel Geller has decades of experience as a Wine Pro, both on the retail side and as a respected reviewer. Luckily, he gave us a few minutes of his time before Passover.
Let’s talk about what kosher wine is. What’s different from other wines?
Okay. So for that I’m going to pick up this bottle [he holds up Drappier Champagne]. This is a very nice bottle of champagne. If you look at the front label and at the back label. Now you go into a wine store that you know sells a pretty good champagne, whether you’re looking for the kosher version of it or not.
You’re not going to see any difference between the two [bottles], except for this little symbol here, which means orthodox.
You need the name of the Kosher agency that certifies that.
That’s why this is kosher.
There’s the kosher version and non-kosher version. The difference between the two [bottles], besides the symbol on the label is the fact that from the moment the grapes are crushed coming from the vineyard, to when the wine is sealed, and all that it’s set up to serve, and Jews who handle the hands on the process.
Everything else is exactly the same.
The fermentation, the acidity, the secondary fermentation; and that goes for every single kosher wine. The only difference in terms of process and ingredients. The process itself has to be done by observant jews and that’s that’s pretty much it.
Of course the ingredients should be kosher, but that’s usually the case. You know there’s some fining agents that sometimes can be non-kosher. That’s very rare. I would say that 95%, maybe even more, of all wine produced in the world do not have any non kosher ingredients. It’s really about who handles the process.
You can take the most knowledgeable experienced sommelier in the world, a master of wine and it doesn’t matter, they won’t be able to to tell you which one is kosher because there is absolutely no way to tell based on taste. It’s only about who handles the process itself.
You used to own a very respected wine shop. What is a good wine buying strategy?
So first of all, be careful with the wine store you pick. Some of these wine stores don’t have optimal storage. Their bottles have been on the shelf for a while. Some stores don’t have temperature control and no air conditioning. That’ll affect the bottle. You want to avoid those stores.
But there’s also stores that are very professional. They have really good wines from different regions throughout the store. They have clerks that are knowledgeable who can point you in the right direction. People whom you can ask proper questions and that’s the experience. When I had my own store, that’s something that in Israel is not so easy to find. It’s actually easier now.
But back then there weren’t that many professional wine stores and that was my idea to have something where people can come and get knowledgeable advice.
People can get a wine that corresponds to your taste and perhaps to the meal or the dish you would like to pair it with, or the occasion.
Gabriel’s choice: Carmel Volcano Merlot 2020
Shop more of Gabriel Geller’s wine advice here.