Discovering kosher wine at Celler de Capçanes

This week we’ve had to opportunity to see first-hand the expertise of Celler de Capcanes winery, in the D.O. Montsant. All morning we were able to learn in depth about their particular way of working (Celler de Capçanes is a cooperative with over 80 associates, who also provide all the grapes for the winery) as well as tasting their wines.

Furthermore, we were lucky enough to see first-hand how they make kosher wine, wines that the Orthodox Jewish community can drink.

Selecting the kosher grapes at Celler de Capçanes

Wine has a very important place in the liturgy of Jewish beliefs, and plays an essential role during the Jewish Passover. What’s more, Hebrew law requires a special treatment of many foods eaten by the community. This is what we call kosher food, a term that when directly translated means pure.

For a wine to be considered kosher, it must comply with a number of strict regulations:

  • – The vines must be at least 4 years old
  • – Every 7 years the vines are not harvested
  • – The use of fertilizers is strictly prohibited, as well as additional yeasts. In fact, any raw material added must be certified kosher
  • – The winemaking process must have the strictest hygienic conditions, starting with the stainless steel tanks being washed three times (fermentation in wood is not allowed), before the wine is made
  • – No one not authorized by the Torah is allowed to come into physical or even visual contact with the wine. Not even the winery’s oenologist!

This last point caught our attention in particular, because once the grapes enter into the winery, the Rabbi becomes the hands and eyes of the oenologist. It’s very interesting to see how Celler de Capçanes have got over this obstacle.

For example, during the ageing of the wine, the winery keeps one barrel that is not fit for making kosher wine, and this barrel contains the same wine as the other kosher barrels. This barrel allows the winemaking team to perform the necessary analysis, so that when they need to do something to the wine, they call the Rabbi and explain to him what must be done and how to do it.

This rule of “absolute privacy” is so strict that once the Rabbi leaves the winery, the buildings containing the kosher barrels are sealed and locked along with the taps and handles of all the wine tanks. Only at the end of the winemaking process, once the Rabbi has determined that all the rules have been complied with, can the wine be certified as kosher.

Like we said before, Celler de Capçanes have  miraculously overcome what could be a serious impediment to making high quality wine. The result is so great, that it has been crowned one of the best kosher wine producing wineries in the world, with its wines among the best kosher wines in the world year on year.

If you want to delve into the world of kosher wine, you mustn’t miss Peraj Ha’abib 2011, an intense, concentrated kosher wine made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Carignan, full of structure and nuances. A bona fide strong wine with great ageing capacity.

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One Response to Discovering kosher wine at Celler de Capçanes

  1. Trademark Lawyer says:

    How interesting, I’d love to try some kosher wine!

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