I’m a particularly bad (read: unobservant and unbelieving) Jew, but I’ve written my share of articles on kosher wines over the years, usually for magazines or websites with broad consumer readerships, and usually to coincide with some Jewish holiday. I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly in touch with Jewish communities here in California, but when I heard recently that one of Napa’s top winemakers was making a kosher wine, I sat up and paid attention. And when I did, I learned that it seems that kosher wine is now officially a thing in Napa.
For the longest time there have been only three names to know when it comes to kosher wine in Napa, or in California as a whole. Herzog Wine Cellars, now based in Ventura, California, was the first to make kosher wine from Napa in the mid 1980s, and was likely the first to make kosher wine in the United States following the end of Prohibition. Hagafen Cellars, based in Napa Valley, has been making kosher wine since the early 1990s. And in 2003, Jeff Morgan started Covenant in Napa, which for years has been the standard-bearer for premium kosher wine in California (and the best-known, expensive American kosher wine on the market).
That was the state of things, or so I thought, until I heard Maayan Koschitzky make a passing comment about all the kosher winemaking spam he was receiving these days.
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is usually available only to subscribers of her website. If you’re not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It’s only £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($11/mo or $111 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and maps from the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.