Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Wine: Who knows wine?

Posted by Oyster on July 12, 2006

Oyster at HaGafen Winery

He’Brews do, evidently (apologies to the Haggadah).

Well, I guess ‘brew’ might not be appropriate, since I’m really here to write about wine. Kosher wine, Jewish vintners, and Jews living in California’s most famous wine-growing region.

If you grew up thinking that all kosher wines are awful due to association with Manischewitz (though their Blackberry wine makes a good dessert wine, IMHO…), then you’re in for a surprise. New labels like HaGafen Cellars and Baron Herzog (the story behind the winery name is worth the time to read) are producing excellent wines of all varieties and tastes. I’m personally a big fan of Baron Herzog’s Chenin Blanc, Late Harvest, and HaGafen’s Riesling. I had the good fortune of being introduced to their Chenin Blanc by Jewlicious laya at the Jewlicious @ the Beach, 2.0 Conference, courtesy of the wine guy.


The JTA recently posted an article on how Jewish wine-growers or vintners (just like our esteemed Torah sage Rashi) came together from June 23 through 25 to celebrate their Jewishness with “L’Chaim, a three-day celebration by the Jewish vintners and winemakers of the role of wine in the Jewish religion and culture“. Alas, it also was in proximity to the passing of Al Brounstein (may HaShem comfort the friends and family of Al Brounstein amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem).

Ironically, when I read of that article, I had just returned from visiting Napa with my girlfriend. We welcomed in the Shabbat Queen at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley (one of the most “unorthodox” services I’ve ever attended), stayed with friends David Rubenstein, Director of the Hillel of Sonoma County, & Andrea for the rest of Shabbat. While up there, we went to HaGafen Cellars (see Oyster in picture). Though I didn’t get a chance to talk to him about it, David is also associated with a Jewish meditation group up in the Santa Rosa area.

And I guess we’re not the only young Jewish enologists in training. 🙂

On PlanItJewish, I came across an entire organization dedicated to the Jewish history of Napa . And the word on the street is that a new Chabad center is soon going to open up in Napa as well, which will compliment Congregation Beth Sholom. Who knew that Napa was so haimishe? 😉

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3 Responses to “Wine: Who knows wine?”

  1. oybay said

    This really has nothing to do with wine, but it does have to do with Jewish life in the North Bay:

    New Jewish Funeral Home opens in Vallejo:
    http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/29717/format/html/displaystory.html

  2. oybay said

    Whoa, Queen Esther just posted a wine & Wine Guy related post on Jewlicious!

  3. […] example of Victorian heritage with Jewish history 5. Eat and drink at kosher restaurants and kosher wineries 6. Experience a music, theater, film, or outdoor event. 7. Shop for Jewish books and gifts and art […]

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