wine (Hebrew: יין כשר,
yayin kashér) is wine produced according to Judaism's
religious law, specifically, the Jewish dietary
laws (kashrut) regarding wine. However, some non-Orthodox
branches of Judaism may be more "lenient".
When kosher wine is produced, marketed and sold
commercially to Orthodox Jews, it must have the
hechsher ("seal of approval") of a supervising
agency or organization (such as the "OU"
sign of the Orthodox Union), or of an authoritative
rabbi who is preferably also a posek ("decisor"
of Jewish law) or be supervised by a beth din
("Jewish religious court of law") according
to Orthodox Judaism. In general, kashrut deals
with avoiding specific forbidden foods, none of
which are normally used in winemaking, so it might
seem that all wines are automatically "kosher".
However, because of wine's special role in many
non-Jewish religions, the kashrut laws specify
that wine cannot be considered kosher if it might
have been used for "idolatry". These
laws include Yayin Nesekh-wine that has been poured
to an idol; Stam Yainom-wine that has been touched
by someone who believes in idolatry or produced
by non-Jews. When kosher wine is yayin mevushal
("cooked" or "boiled"), it
becomes unfit for idolatrous use and will keep
the status of kosher wine even if subsequently
touched by an idolater.
In recent times, there has been an increased demand
for kosher wines and a number of wine producing
countries now produce a wide variety of sophisticated
kosher wines under strict rabbinical supervision,
particularly in Israel and the Golan Heights,
United States, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa,
and Australia. Two of the world's largest producers
and importers of kosher wines, Kedem and Manischewitz,
are both based in the Northeastern United States.