Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Daniel Rogov

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Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:49 am

It is now official - the Flam and Saslove wineries are going kosher. As to precisely why these changes are in the making, I am certain that we can chalk this up to economic/business reasons. As to the logic of this - quite simple - while observant Jews both in Israel and the United States are becoming increasingly aware of the value of fine wine in their lives, there is no matching increase in the consumption habits of the not-so-observant segment of the Jewish population. More than that, even though Israeli wines are coming more and more to the attention of the non-Jewish population outside of Israel, such wines will sell to a niche audience regardless of whether they are kosher or not.

A few years ago I felt that "going kosher" was a sign of desperation on the part of some small wineries. That may have been valid then but it is not now. Simply stated, going kosher can do a winery only good and not bad. If there is any drawback whatever it is to those winemakers who will lost part of the hands-on production of their wines. And no- these wineries will not be doing mevushal (pasteurized) wines.

As I have stated and written on many occasions, there are no contradictions between the laws of kashrut and the production of fine wine and even though I shall keep a careful eye and palate peeled, I anticipate no change in style or quality from these two fine wineries.

Saslove wines will be kosher starting with the 2010 vintage. I am not fully certain whether the Flam wines will make their move in the 2010 or 2011 vintage. I shall report back as I find out.


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Menachem S

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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Menachem S » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:17 am

As far as I am concerned, this is great news.

I have always followed he wines of Flam with great regret that I dont get to enjoy them.

I will have to take another look at Saslove.

Thanks!
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by EY Han » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:38 am

bsd

Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for this good news

Siman Tov uMazal Tov uMazal Tov Tov veSiman Tov. . . Yehei Lanu. . . Yehei Lanu, Yehei Lanu uLekhol Israel. . .!!!
(What a good sign and good fortune, and a good fortune and a good sign. . . This will be unto us. . . This will be unto us, This will be until us and to all of Israel. . .!!!)

Best wishes,
E.Y.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Z Spigelman » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:39 am

Great news for us "kosher only" folks.

I sent an e-mail to Golan Flam and received a quick response that:
1. The first kosher wines will be from the 2010 vintage, so the whites and rose will be available by this coming Pesach;
2. One will need to wait patiently another 2+ years for the kosher Reserve release.

Kol HaKavod to the Flam and Saslove wineries.
Hopefully others will follow in their footsteps.
Zvi
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Barry K » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:23 am

Dear Rogov

I am pleased that you have changed your stance.. It is unfortunate that perhaps the strongest opposition to Kosher status is from our own people. It is perhaps timely that the article noted below was recently published in the NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/opini ... her&st=cse
At least here in the US Kosher products are viewed in a positive light, an incredible opportunity for the Israeli winemakers to improve the image of Kosher wines and find new markets
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Michael J » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:30 am

Sounds like great news. These are two quality wineries that I'm looking forward to tasting.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Michelle Nordell » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:30 am

I heard through the grapevine that Tulip Winery is also going kosher.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:33 am

Barry K wrote:I am pleased that you have changed your stance. It is unfortunate that perhaps the strongest opposition to Kosher status is from our own people.



Barry, Hi...

My stance has never been against either things that are kosher or the need by a certain segment of the population for kashrut. My earlier point of view was based on my hope that growth of the Israeli wine industry would come about as better wines would be accepted on a broad niche scale as "Mediterranean wines of quality and interest" and not on the basis of kashrut. At least so far that acceptance has not come about in a major way so it has become logical for small wineries to appeal to that growing portion of the Jewish market that is indeed concerned not only with kashrut but with quality.

Indeed some wineries produce kosher wines because the owners themselves are observant. Those wineries are in a distinct minority however, and for the most part the decision to "go kosher" is entirely business oriented.

I do not agree with your hypothesis that there is any serious objection to the production and consumption of kosher food products on the part of very many "of our own people". I believe whatever objections are found are related to the perceptions (be they accurate or be they not accurate) that in two major ways

(a) Kashrut, especially within Israel, imposes on the convenience and desires of those Jews who do not keep kosher and
(b) Kashrut certificiation is too often related to cash flow and "power games" on the part of some certifying bodies.

I offer only two examples of those and please note that neither of these examples is anti-Jewish or anti-religious. The issue here is kashrut and neither religious belief or practice. First, for an Israeli supermarket to be kosher it can carry no non-kosher items whatsoever. That is not true in any other country in the world but here is strictly enforced.

Second - certainly not all but far too many mashgichim (kashrut supervisers) are too much like those union shop stewards who are on the payroll but do nothing productive. With regard to this please let me state loudly and clearly that a good number of the mashgichim are indeed dedicated workers and valued members of the team at the wineries that employ them. The problem is the fairly large number who are little more than parasites and cannot be fired because they have protektzia (self defining, I believe) with the powers that be.

Perhaps to demonstrate that as many feelings as there may be, there is no overall bias. I know of no Israeli, for example, who has objected to the fact that all kitchens and dining rooms of Tsahal (the Israeli Defense Forces), cafeterias in government buildings, hospitals and other public buildings must be kosher. Nor do I know of any Israeli who has ever objected to a food product on the basis that it is kosher.

Whatever, for those who do keep kashrut, I share your pleasure in that the wines of an increasing number of the wines from the better boutique wineries in the country will now be available to you. Thinking of a good many very old jokes, indeed "it will be good for the Jews". Whether in the end it will be good for the wineries is something we can hope for but will have to wait five to ten years before we know the final answers.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Stephen Weil » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:56 am

I for one am looking forward to the Flam Wines.
Good move
Steve
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher"

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:52 pm

Michelle Nordell wrote:I heard through the grapevine that Tulip Winery is also going kosher.



Michelle, Hi...

Your segment of the grapevine is functioning well.

Some while ago we had a long and at times rather heated discussion on the forum about Tulip Winery's problem with going kosher.

As is known, Tulip is located on Kfar Tikva, a residential and non-residential center for people with various developmental complications. Many of those in the village have been an integral part of the winery since its inception.

The reaction of the rabbinical authorities at that time was that kashrut certification could be given only on the condition that those of the village could no longer be associated with or work at the winery. In that earlier discussion I praised the Yitzhaki family for their stance which was summed up the pater familialis of the family, Itzhak Yitzhaki who said more or less that they "should live so long until these people are no longer part of the winery".

After reading your post, I phoned the winery and spoke with Roy Yitzhaki who told me that after four years of negotiations approval for a kashrut certificate seems imminent and that the rabbinical authorities involved have come around in agreement to the effect that the people of the village could indeed working at the winery, some 80% of their work having no possible potential impact on kashrut.

Again a business–related decision, but this one with a distinct heart and once again a hearty bravo to the Yitzhaki family.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Harry J » Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:15 pm

BSD. By the fact that the arrangement spoken of was the specifics of who is resposible for which part of the process indicates something more integral than economics that the two parties were able to work out. The bravo for them is a for a greater cause than only money. H
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:27 pm

Harry, Hi....

I can comfortably assure one and all that none of these wineries would have "gone kosher" had it not been for economic reasons.

On the other hand, we are in full agreement that the bravo is due to Tulip by standing up for the rights of the people they care about and respect.

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Rogov
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by David L » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:30 pm

Rogov,

As always, Thanks for being the bearer of good news! :D

What implications, if any, does this have on the remaining wineries that aren't Kosher...yet

Best,

David
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Menachem S » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:55 pm

And does it reamin your view that we will never see Margalit and Clos de Gat kosher?

NEVER?
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Allen S » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:20 pm

Menachem S wrote:And does it reamin your view that we will never see Margalit and Clos de Gat kosher?

NEVER?


Given that the owner of Clos de Gat was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that he refuses to even taste kosher wine, I think it is a safe bet that he won't be taking his winery kosher.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:29 pm

David L wrote:What implications, if any, does this have on the remaining wineries that aren't Kosher...yet


Considering that all of the large and medium-sized wineries (that is to say, over 500,000 bottles) are already kosher, I do not see great additional movement coming from the smaller wineries at this stage. Truly small wineries will be kosher only if their owner/winemakers are themselves observant, and there is relatively little advantage to going kosher for those wineries producing up to 30-40,000 bottles annually. Several others may come out in the future but we'll have to see which those are and what quality wines they are producing.


Menachem S wrote:And does it reamin your view that we will never see Margalit and Clos de Gat kosher?


Let's put it this way, with regard to both Margalit and Clos de Gat which remain two of the very best wineries in the country, I think the odds are far better that we will see the coming of the Messiah before those wineries go kosher. Even after that, I'm not at sure they would go kosher. And believe me, I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah.

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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Shlomo R » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:53 pm

Very happy to read this news, and looking forward to buying the wines.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Michelle Nordell » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:16 pm

I am very happy to hear that the employees at Tulip Winery will still be able to work there. Bravo to the Itzaki family.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Andrew B » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:44 pm

There are so many hands-off and partially hands-off jobs at a winery that I really wonder how big the issue was in the first place. Farming, harvesting, lab work, labeling, packaging, marketing, shipping.... how many employees would have *really* been displaced... aside from the head winemaker becoming once removed from his wine.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Zvi Remak » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:37 am

The fact that Saslove and Flam are going kosher will, IMO have no impact on other wineries. The reason to go kosher may not be only economic , but econonics are keeping me from going kosher .
Any small winery will have a hard time going kosher as most if not all work is done by the winemaker and their family. Going kosher means that I cannot work in the winery at all and even if I were religious I would have to pay for a mashgiach . Every employee costs money and going kosher doe not always improve sales.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Lior Yogev » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:54 am

Those are very surprising news to me, as the owners of two of these three wineries told me in the last year or two they have no intention what so ever of going kosher.
I'll probably have some more comments later on...

Lior.
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Mike_F » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:02 am

Lior Yogev wrote:Those are very surprising news to me, as the owners of two of these three wineries told me in the last year or two they have no intention what so ever of going kosher.


Alas Lior, when marketing transcends integrity nothing is surprising...

I sent an e-mail this morning asking to be removed from the mailing list of Flam's customers club. I will have to find out if Clos de Gat has a customers club I can join.

C'e la vie,

Mike
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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:06 am

Mike, Hi...

In the spirit of true friendship I ask why you are so strongly opposed to Flam going kosher. I suspect you do buy at least some of the wines of the Golan Heights Winery, Castel, Galil Mountain, Carmel, and other wineries that are kosher. Assuming that the decision to go kosher is for the purposes of economic survival in an increasingly difficult wine world and that the quality of wines will not beimpacted upon by going kosher, why the objection?

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Re: Two Boutiques "Going Kosher": Whoops Make That Three

by Mike_F » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:15 am

Hi Rogov,

I guess memories are short, I did express my opinion on this matter quite recently at viewtopic.php?f=29&t=32758#p276590

I understand the commercial reasoning behind the decision of a winery to go kosher. Having made that decision, 'twould be far far better to inform their regular customers via a direct e-mail to their mailing list than to wait for the story to surface on an internet forum. Specifically re' Flam, I asked them directly about this issue a month ago, and received a mail stating that "nothing is changing yet". Hence my comment above to Lior.

To your more general question, I buy wines from kosher wineries if something interesting is on offer at a local store - usually Asael's in Rehovot, but I am not a member of any of their customer clubs and I do not make any effort to buy directly from them. The bulk of my local wine purchases are from specific boutique wineries, in recent years Pelter for whites, and practically the entire line of Sea Horse and Flam. I guess now I will have to substitute Clos de Gat for Flam...

best,

Mike
Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”
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