Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Juiced Up

Grape juice is not an ordinary drink among religious Jews. Because of the sacramental significance of wine, all grape products, including vinegar and grape juice, are subject to special religious restrictions in order to be considered kosher. As a further indication of its special status, grape juice is not placed together with the other fruit juices on Israeli supermarket shelves. Instead, it is sold in the wine section.

When it comes to making kiddush on Shabbat and festivals, grape juice (as opposed to wine) is popular among families with young children, though plenty of adults prefer it too. There is quite a large market for the organic variety produced by Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. There is also a cultural divide. My English-speaking friends drink grape juice gladly on Shabbat, while some older Hebrew-speaking friends of mine with roots in Eastern Europe were a bit surprised and amused when I brought them a bottle for Shabbat lunch. Grape juice? they chuckled. What, do you think we’re little kids?


For years, the Carmel Winery has produced and sold two kinds of grape juice: red and white. Now they’ve expanded their line to include grape juice made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, giving a classier dimension to a classic drink.

Fancy grape juice

The bottle on the left, with the red label, is Merlot. The one on the right, with the blue label (it looks purple in the picture), is Cabernet Sauvignon.

Hey, who said grape juice has to be boring? I can’t wait to try ’em.


(Cross-posted on Israelity)

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