The OU: Mastering the Challenges of Producing Kosher Wine

Over the last ten years there has been a veritable explosion in the certification of kosher wine. Kosher wine is now produced on every continent and in most of the world’s premier wine regions. While the manufacture and handling of kosher wines (and grape juice) involves certain unique challenges, with the OU’s experience and expertise these have been met and overcome, providing consumers an ever- increasing variety of kosher wine products.

Kosher wine requires the exclusive handling by specially approved kosher workers from the delivery of the grapes until the product is secured in sealed tanks or bottles. If the product has been cooked (or more commonly flash pasteurized, as kosher wine frequently is), these restrictions are relaxed.

The first step in the certification process is a review of the winery to determine the number of kosher workers that will be required for the grape “crush.” This number varies from winery to winery based on a certain factors (e.g. automation, work stations etc.).

Yeast and other processing additives need to be from verified kosher sources. During fermentation one kosher worker is on call to perform any manipulation of the wine as may be required. Special seals insure the integrity of the wine when the kosher worker is not present. Wines are sometimes aged for many months, all in sealed vessels.

Bottling takes place and kosher labels are all affixed with kosher controls assuring consumers that the OU’s acclaimed kosher standards have been adhered to for each and every bottle.

The OU would be delighted to assist your company in making kosher wine.

Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, OU Kosher Senior Rabbinic Coordinator, services applications for the OU certification of wine and liquor, as well as OU applications from throughout Europe.