The creation of our second (now-annual!) Jewish Link Wine Guide in the post-COVID lockdown has been exhilarating and fun. The challenges we experienced in our first year of creating an independent kosher wine magazine during the first global pandemic in a century colored our subsequent experiences; likely making virtually anything that followed it a much more cheerful experience.
This year, as our worldwide kosher winemakers began to emerge from their travel lockdowns, many of us “wine people” met in person again in February and March during various wine tastings and business meetings, and it was just so good to see everyone again. The return of commerce has been long awaited, and greeting old friends, even those with whom we only share business interests, has never felt so good.
Our efforts to celebrate kosher wine this year were met with more positivity, more enthusiasm, and a lot more joy. Though we had our share of challenges as well, like anyone trying to run a business in this post-pandemic world, we learned that everyone certainly had their share of logistics and pipeline issues.
For us at the Jewish Link Wine Guide, we were met with over 600 bottles as entries in our ranked tastings, and this included wines sent in categories for which we didn’t even offer rankings! For that reason, we have incorporated even more wines into our articles, and included new rankings of top 10 varietal wines, including “best worldwide lists” for cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and a particularly Zionist variety we call “Israeli blend.” We hope you enjoy these lists and find them useful as you shop for Pesach and throughout the year.
As always, our process of wine tastings was blind; meaning every bottle we ranked was covered and numbered so its label was not visible to the judges. The goal of blind tastings is for our judges to not be swayed in any way by their personal views on brands they have tried previously, or on any other factor other than the liquid in the glass.
The judges ranked their wines on a personally calibrated 100 point scale, which they initially developed together before the tastings for last year’s magazine. We are exceedingly grateful and fortunate to have had all five of our founding judges return to taste for us in our sophomore year.Yossie Horwitz, Jeff Katz, Greg Raykher, Daphna Roth and Yeruchum Rosenberg share a passion for supporting the kosher wine industry as a whole.
While the tastings took place over six long evenings in February, with as many as 100 bottles in each tasting, we benefited from our stable office environment and our ability to generally offer reasonable temperature control for the bottles, an issue we struggled with as we produced our wine guide for 2021, having to hold tastings outside in deference to Covid. We continue to grow and learn about how to improve our blind tastings.
We are grateful our efforts last year were well-received and as we conclude our preparations this year, it is with a strong sense that we continue to toil toward something important. As we celebrate the brands which grace our Shabbat tables every week, we continue to see the importance of supporting the innovators and mainstay personalities behind the brands. Every bottle of kosher wine represents an incredible amount of work on behalf of the consumer, and we could not be more grateful to celebrate and recommend so many within this beautiful community.
With best wishes for a Chag Kasher V’Sameach,