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

Yayin Nesech: Wine and Grape Products

Yayin Nesech: 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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1000 characters remaining Staff January 8, 2017

To Karen Yes there is no problem with offering grapes as a gift to be eaten. Reply

Karen Silver Yonkers January 6, 2017

Grapes 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? Reply

Menachem Posner Chicago 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. Reply

Gavriel NY 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? Reply

CKlein TX 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? Reply

Jane Singer Jerusalem August 18, 2015

making your own Brilliant! Thanks. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for 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. Reply

Jane Singer Jerusalem 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? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for 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. Reply

Ruth Los Angeles January 26, 2014

Grape Juice Is grape juice with a reliable hecksher always boiled or just pasterized? Reply

Yisroel Cotlar Cary, NC April 27, 2011

Re: Cream of Tartar It would require a special kosher for Passover supervision. Reply

Dovid Los Angeles, CA via April 25, 2011

Blended whiskeys I've never seen any blended whiskeys (scotch nor Canadian) that contained any grape products.
Also, wine "still is used in many forms of idolatrous worship"
like how? and where? Reply

Anonymous Lexington, MA April 18, 2011

Cream of tartar and Passover I have an old kosher cookbook that calls for cream of tartar in some of the Pesach recipes. If the cream of tartar has a heckser (e.g., ou or star-k), is it also kosher for Pesach? Reply

daniela October 15, 2010

Please explain more Thank you for your answer, and could you please elaborate a little more. The (dry) grape seed have no stam yayin issue i.e may be touched and handled by nonjews in the regular manner and will not become forbidden. But if the grape seeds are from nonkosher wine production, I used to think they're forbidden to begin with. Is this wrong?

In regards to the processing, it can be hot pressed, with solvents. Cold pressed method is not suitable for grapeseeds, but can be done. The humidity needs to be within certain parameters (achieved by drying in rotating drums) and is required to be very low for solvent-extraction processing (hexane, etc), but not all the grapeseed oil is produced this way. As it is marketed as health-food and as there are health concerns about solvent traces, all "organic" and some non-organic grape seed oils are actually hot-pressed. A few (very expensive) are cold-pressed. Does your comment also apply to processing without solvents? Edible at all stages? Thankyou a lot Reply

Yisroel Cotlar for Cary, NC via October 14, 2010

Re: Grape Seed Oil needs a regular Kosher supervision but it is not considered in the same category as wine.

From the Star K website:

Grape Seed Oil is extracted from dried grape seeds. Since oil cannot be pressed out of moist grape seeds, the grape seeds need to be perfectly dry before extraction. Dried grape seeds no longer have any stam yeinum (non-kosher wine) concerns. However the method of drying has to be monitored to see that the grape seeds have been dried properly before processing. Reply

daniela October 12, 2010

To Alex Usually, big wineries have plenty of "pressed grapes" leftover. They need to get rid of it (e.g. save "recycling" fees) and they sell them very cheap to plants that wash these leftovers: the seeds go to the grape oil industry, the water is treated to extract potassium bitartrate, for the confectionery industry (that is also something that should have a hechsher, but at least, it's inedible, while the grape seeds may not be very appetizing but are definitely edible). You should call the grape seed oil manufacturer, they'll give you all the info. Then talk to your rabbi with the info.

It would be interesting to publish more articles on winemaking, with practical guides. Reply

Menachem Posner for February 17, 2010

To Daniel: The laws of wine are found in the 5th chapter of the Talmudic tractate Avodah Zarah and further discussed in the Code of Jewish Law, Yoreh Deah, 124 and onward. Reply

Daniel Philadelphia February 16, 2010

Wine From where do we know the characteristics of kosher wine? can anyone please send me a source? Reply

Alex Rockville, MD via June 26, 2009

Grape seed oil Does grape seed oil require hechsher by the same category as wine? Reply

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