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A special status is accorded to wine and grape products, and thus we must be especially vigilant

Wine and Grape Products

Wine and Grape Products


Wine, more than any other food or drink, represents the holiness and separateness of the Jewish people. It is used for the sanctification of Shabbat and Yom Tov and at Jewish simchot. In the Beit Hamikdash wine was poured upon the altar together with the sacrifice.

However, since wine was and still is used in many forms of idolatrous worship, it has a unique status in Jewish law, which places extra restrictions on the making and handling of wine. This includes wine used for non-ceremonial purposes.

The production and handling of kosher wine must be done exclusively by Jews. Wine, grape juice, and all products containing wine or grape juice must remain solely in Jewish hands during the manufacturing process and also after the seal of the bottle has been opened. We are not allowed to drink any wine or grape juice, or any drink containing wine or grape juice, which has been touched by a non-Jew after the seal of the bottle has been opened.

Yayin Mevushal: (Boiled Wine). Kosher wine (or grape juice) which has been boiled prior to the bottling process is called yayin mevushal. In the time of the Beit Hamikdash, boiling wine rendered it unfit to be brought upon the Altar.

Yayin mevushal is not considered "sacramental wine" and is therefore not included in the prohibition against being handled by non-Jews. This wine must, as with all kosher wines, bear the symbol of a reliable supervision organization and it should say yayin mevushal.

A wide variety of domestic and imported kosher wines under reliable supervision has been added to the sweet Concords traditionally associated with kosher wines. Many of these wines are yayin mevushal, as indicated on the label. Whether for Kiddush, dining, or a simchah, you are sure to find a fine kosher wine to suit your taste.

Grape Ingredients In Processed Foods: All liquids produced from fresh or dried grapes, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, such as grape juice and wine vinegar, are in the same category as wine in Jewish Law. Therefore, foods with grape flavoring or additives must always have a reliable hechsher. Examples are jam, soda, popsicles, candy, juice packed fruit, fruit punch, and lemonade.

Alcoholic drinks such as cognac and brandy have wine bases. Liqueurs and blended whiskeys are often blended with wine. All such beverages require kosher supervision, as does herring in wine sauce.

Cream of tartar is made from wine sediment and needs rabbinical supervision.

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Discussion (19)
January 8, 2017
To Karen
Yes there is no problem with offering grapes as a gift to be eaten. Staff
January 6, 2017
What of the grapes themselves? Can a Chabad teacher be offered grapes by way of thanks? My parsha teachers are from a Chabad yeshiva. I bought excellent black grapes from a supermarket and want to share them. Would they accept it?
Karen Silver
May 12, 2016
To Gavriel
Before the wine or juice became vinegar or was mixed into your mustard it was proper wine. As such, these laws apply, and you need to ensure that it was properly handled prior to that point.
Menachem Posner
May 12, 2016
Wine vinegar, etc.
Regarding grape products as ingredients in processed foods, such as wine vinegar, fruit punch, jam, etc. that were discussed - why does it have the same halachic considerations as wine? After all, they aren't sacramental or potentially sacramental items?
March 17, 2016
Wine: a leavening product since it is fermented?
Would kosher wine containing alcohol of any amount, be considered a leavening product - a yeast product of sorts? Therefore, fresh grape juice be considered more appropriate?
August 18, 2015
making your own
Brilliant! Thanks.
Jane Singer
August 17, 2015
Re: making your own
As long as the grapes are fresh (and whole), it is okay to buy them and make your own juice.
Eliezer Zalmanov
August 16, 2015
making your own
Now that we often fly without checking in luggage, it is becoming hard to bring along wine or grape juice for kiddush.

Is there any problem with buying grapes and squeezing your own juice?
Jane Singer
January 29, 2014
To Ruth in LA
The standards in this particular area vary by agency. You should inquire with the specific agency regarding their products.
Eliezer Zalmanov
January 26, 2014
Grape Juice
Is grape juice with a reliable hecksher always boiled or just pasterized?
Los Angeles
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