The creation of our third annual Jewish Link Wine Guide has solidified a number of goals we set for ourselves when we launched during the pandemic in 2021. That first year our magazine was a scant 56 pages and many of our tastings were done outside in “socially distant” conditions. While this memory is thankfully beginning to fade, we are now thrilled that the 80-page magazine we created last year has been matched in page numbers again this year, with more advertisers, more wines, more articles augmented by the benefit of travel and ever-more complexity and depth in all we present.
This year, we were met with 660+ bottles as entries in our ranked tastings, and we made special efforts this year to highlight wines that are unique in the kosher world, both for those who wish to move beyond a basic cab or refreshing chardonnay and to thank those who make niche wines available for the kosher marketplace. While these may not be wines from far-flung corners of the world, they are few and far between in the kosher world; even if there are 1500 Gavi di Gavis made in Italy, there’s only one available kosher. We’ve continued to engineer our rankings and sought to improve our top 10 varietal lists, including “best worldwide lists” for cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, “Israeli blends” and others. 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. We consider it an advantage that our judges' different palates and ranges of expertise reflect what the customer will experience when they pop and pour a bottle of wine.
We would also note that our lists cannot be fully considered exhaustive because we simply do not receive all wines available, for a variety of reasons. We also are unable to decant or allow wines significant time to "open" before tasting, so that should be taken into consideration.
The judges ranked their wines on a personally calibrated 100 point scale, which they initially developed together before the tastings for the first magazine. We are exceedingly grateful and fortunate to have had all five of our founding judges return to taste for us for the third year in a row. Yossie Horwitz, Jeff Katz, Greg Raykher, Daphna Roth and Yeruchum Rosenberg share a passion for supporting the kosher wine industry as a whole. We continue to grow and learn about how to improve our blind tastings.
We are grateful our efforts in previous years have been 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 hard workers behind these 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,
Meet the JUDGES
Growing up in a tee-totaling household in Jerusalem, Yossie Horwitz didn’t have much early exposure to wine. By the time he was 30 and living in New York City, he was sharing his wine recommendations in his “Yossie’s Corkboard” blog, which goes out to more than 11,000 subscribers around the world. Tasting more than 4,000 different kosher wines each year keeps this deal-making attorney-by day quite busy. Sign up at yossiescorkboard.com and follow on Instagram @yossies_corkboard. In addition to serving as a founding judge and contributor for The Jewish Link Wine Guide, Yossie is the founder of the Rosh Chodesh Club concept.
Greg Raykher has been interested in tasting, collecting and learning about wine for over 20 years. He met some of his closest friends through the old Daniel Rogov chat group. Greg loves following the Israeli wine industry, and still remembers how excited he was when Castel went kosher in 2002, Bazelet Hagolan in 2004, Flam and Tulip in 2010, and Pelter opened Matar in 2012. When not learning about wine, Greg works in finance, with a focus on zero-carbon renewable energy projects. He lives in Teaneck with his children, and shares his love of wine exploration with his wife Daphna, a fellow judge on The Jewish Link panel. Last year, Greg received the Wine Spirits and Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wines, passing the exam with distinction. He is a WSET Level 3 candidate.
Jeff Katz has been collecting, tasting, and sharing alcohol with friends for 20 years. With an original interest in mixology and spirits, Jeff’s appreciation for wine evolved 10 years ago when his wife handed him a glass of Russian River Chardonnay. Since then, Jeff has become a member of multiple kosher wine clubs and has made good friends with many oenophiles. Jeff enjoys speaking with winemakers and hearing about their journeys that led them to where they are today. When not entertaining friends and family, Jeff works in global supply chain and customs management
and lives in New Jersey with his amazing wife Eva and two beautiful daughters.
Daphna Roth has been tasting and enjoying wine for over 30 years. She first introduced her husband, Greg, to wine with a gift of the “Wine For Dummies” book. They have been exploring exciting kosher wines together ever since. Little did she know that their wine journey would include being a judge for The Jewish Link. Daphna works as an adult neuropsychologist, specializing in evaluations, in private practice in Teaneck.
Yeruchum Rosenberg is a wine enthusiast who spends his days in the world of technology and finance. He has been involved in the kosher wine scene for over 20 years. He loves family, friends, food and wine—preferably together. He enjoys cooking and frequenting Rosh Chodesh clubs. He lives in Teaneck with his wife, Michal, and their four kids.
Meet the CONTRIBUTORS
Elizabeth Kratz is associate publisher and editor of The Jewish Link, and founding editor of The Jewish Link Wine Guide. Last year, Elizabeth received the Wine Spirits and Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wines, passing with merit. She is a WSET Level 3 candidate.
Joshua E. London
Joshua E. London has been drinking, writing, consulting and speaking professionally about kosher wines and spirits for well over 20 years. For over a dozen years Josh wrote a popular weekly column on kosher wines and spirits that appeared in several Jewish publications, and his writing has appeared in a wide variety of both Jewish and non-Jewish print and online media. In addition to writing for the Jewish Link Wine Guide, Josh has once again joined us as a consulting editor. When not focused on wine and spirits, Josh is the CEO of the Anglo-Israel Association which is focused on advancing the UK-Israel relationship, and promoting education about Israel.
Michal Rosenberg is associate editor at The Jewish Link and managing and production editor of The Jewish Link Wine Guide. Her husband Yeruchum first introduced her to wine 20 years ago and she’s joined him on his wine journey ever since. She’s learned a lot over the years, but still lets him pick out the bottles they drink.
Dr. Kenneth Friedman
Dr. Kenneth Friedman is a Baltimore-based kosher wine aficionado/connoisseur. He produces and consults on unique food and wine tastings, utilizing his years of experience to create memorable, exciting events. He maintains a column on kosher wine, food and spirits and leads educational wine tastings on Instagram @kosherwinetastings. Last year, Kenny received the Wine Spirits and Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wines, passing with merit. He is a WSET Level 3 candidate.
Gamliel Kronemer has been writing for more than 15 years about kosher wine, spirits, cocktails and food in a number of Jewish newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link. In 2005, when Gamliel started writing regularly on the subject, he recalled that “back then, most newspapers wrote about kosher wine at most twice a year, with headlines like ‘Kosher Wine: It’s Not Your Mama’s Manischewitz Anymore.’ Watching the kosher wine world blossom has been utterly amazing, and I feel fortunate to have had a front row seat.” Gamliel lives with his wife, Jessica, in Silver Spring, Maryland.