יום שישי, פברואר 16, 2007

 

Middle Eastern spices and kosher wine

California Country, a program shown on RFD-TV, recently ran a show with two segments featuring Jewish agriculturists in the Golden State. One segment featured a havdalah in Napa Valley featuring Jewish vintners. One of the wineries featured was Covenant Wines, which begins its mission statement as follows:

The Jews may have the oldest codified relationship to wine of any people on earth, but kosher wine ironically is best known for its “unorthodox” taste. In the context of Jewish history, this dubious distinction is understandable. Thousands of years ago, the Jews lived in the Holy Land, where grape growing and wine making were common practice. But after the Roman conquest of Jerusalem some 2000 years ago, the Jews began a long period of wandering known as the Diaspora, which presented them with a serious enological challenge. Rarely were their new homes in exile blessed with vineyards such as those previously known in their ancestral land. [...]

A century ago, Jewish immigrants to America found local Concord grapes to be plentiful. But the wine produced from these native American grapes had a so-called "foxy" character. Keeping the wines sweet made them more palatable, and this sweet style became synonymous with kosher wine.

More recent history has been kinder to Jewish wine makers, and currently there is a revolution in quality among kosher wines the world over.[...]


The other segment was about some purveyors of exotic fresh spices. The presentation did not center on the fact that the owners of the company are Jews (specifically, Israeli immigrants), but it did include some scenes of their Friday meal with friends, where they showcase the spices in various dishes. In the scenes, one can see the owner wearing his kippah.

I never expected to see a Shabbat dinner celebration and a havdalah on a TV channel that calls itself "Rural America's most important network," but there it was!

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