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Kosher Wine events for 2014 are set and the KFWE is selling fast

I will keep this short and sweet – the 2014 kosher wine events are all in and will start selling out VERY soon.

The first one you MUST jump on is the 2014 Kosher Food and Wine Festival (KFWE) at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, in New York City on February 24, 2014. It literally sells out each and every year, and all the procrastinators complain to me bitterly, about how they cannot get in – well BUY YOUR DARN TICKETS and they are 20 dollars off still. I did not get a coupon this year, but you can use the Kosher Wine Society’s coupon (KWS20).

The next one to get on is the International Food and Wine Festival in Los Angeles, CA IFWF on February 26, 2014 – check my blog posting for more on that.

The next wine event is the Grapevine Wines Grand Tasting for Sunday March 2nd, 2014 at the Grapevine Wines shop in Monsey, NY. The tasting is from 5:30 – 8:30 PM, it is the 15th Year anniversary of the Kosher Wine store. The wine event will take place at 455 Route 306 Wesley Hills, NY 10952, 845-364-9463. Ask for Yehoshua Werth.

The next one is the return of the Gotham Wine Extravaganza, that took a year off last year – but is back and ready to go! The date is set, for Sunday March 23rd. As I have reported for the past many years, Gotham throws a crazy wine tasting with an array of wines unmatched by any other kosher wine tasting event, as there are wines from  all of the kosher wine importers. I hope that anyone in the New York City can make it.

The next wine kosher event is the City Winery event, that is another kosher wine event that includes many wine importers and is on Monday March 31st. Last year the event was quite impressive, and I am sure it will be equally impressive this year.

Bravdo Winery – Round 2 with the new 2010 and 2011 wines

Unless you have been living under a rock for some time, you would know that I am a huge fan of the Bravdo winery! The winery is a family affair, with Professor Bravdo making the wine and his daughter, Hadar managing the winery. I really enjoyed visiting the winery, late last year, and re-tasting the 2010 red wines, that I tasted at the Gotham event in 2011. Well, recently at the 2012 Gotham Wine Extravaganza, I had the chance to meet Hadar again and taste through the new vintages of the wonderful wines!

Bravdo is imported into the United States by Happy Hearts Wine Importers, who has kept the prices on these wonderful wines at a reasonable level, while also continuing to make the newest vintages available, and not bringing in old wines. While, I was talking with Hadar, which is always a joy, Benyamin, manager of Happy Hearts, swung by and proudly stated that Happy Hearts had suggested they make a blend – and the output was Coupage! WOW! That is quite synergistic, if I say so myself, the importer suggesting a different wine, and the Professor delivering, with what I think is the best bottle, along with the Shiraz, that Bravdo makes.

There was one slightly under performing wine and that was the 2011 Bravdo Chardonnay, but given the trouble that 2011 presented, in Israel and the US, the wine is just fine thank you.

I must excuse myself for the lack of pictures, but I seem to have forgotten to take pictures of the 2010 wines! I am very sorry. The bottles look the same as the 2009 vintages just of course with a different year. You can find those, along with the wine notes here.

So many thanks to Hadar, The Bravdo Family, Happy Hearts, and of course Costas for the wonderful opportunity to taste through these fantastic wines. I hope to be tasting through these wines again soon, at a shabbos table, where I can have a bit more time to enjoy them and actually drink them. Read the rest of this entry

Teperberg Wines at the 2012 Gotham Tasting and Sommelier

This is the tenth article I am writing on wineries from the Judean Hills wine region of Israel. No matter where you look around the landscape of Israeli wines and wineries you will find story after story of rebirth, renewal, and a fair amount of plain old new! Carmel, Binyamina, Barkan, were all producing mass consumption/bulk wine up until 1o to 15 years ago. Since then, they have seen serious rebirth, still selling almost undrinkable swill for the masses, and also selling high-end, and very respectable wines for us wine aficionados.

Personally, I think it is the correct business structure to have for a growing winery. You need simple bulk wines that have high margins and can be sold anywhere and everywhere. Wines that people buy in the millions, literally. Then you need wines that bolster the lineup, entry-level wine-drinker wines, that can be the bridge to take you from swill to paradise. Think white zinfandel from Herzog Wine Cellars, they sell those bottles by the millions and they are the perfect gateway drug to get you to Chenin Blanc and then maybe to Chardonnay or Black Muscat, and finally to some real dry red wines.

Today the winery we are looking at is the Teperberg winery which was founded in 1870 by the Teperberg family (from where the name of the winery is derived) in the Old City of Jerusalem. Actually, to be accurate it was located in an alleyway of the old city of Jerusalem, and may well have been the first winery in the modern era of Israel. Later in 1964, the winery moved outside of Jerusalem, to the then quiet suburb of Motza (now a thriving community), and took on the name Efrat. The winery, ignoring its many name changes, continues to mostly produce sacramental sweet wines, as that is what its main clientele are looking for. However, in the 1990s Efrat started to create dry red wines, and to be honest they were a disaster. I remember always passing up on them, even when in school, and buying Carmel dry or semi-sweet wines instead. Read the rest of this entry

Gotham’s 9th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza – the most comprehensive kosher wine event

As I have reported on for the past few years, Gotham throws a crazy wine tasting with an array of wines unmatched by any other kosher wine tasting event. They serve wines from many distributors and wine producers. While last year’s event initially had a hard time finding a place, this year it is all ready to go! I hope that anyone in the area can make it. It has returned to its old time of 3 PM on a Sunday, this time March 4th in a new location; WestSide Institutional, here is the map.

As usual there are two other options. The first is the VIP session where you will be able to taste many Teperberg wines along with Chief Winemaker Shiki Rauchberger of Teperberg Winery. You will also get to taste a few special wines that Costas finds in his or the Gotham’s private collection.

This is the event to not miss, so add it to your calendar and show up when you can. Right now JDeal has a deal going on for the lowest price ticket – half off! For the rest of the tickets – go to gotham’s site.

For eight years Gotham Wines brought you the ONLY comprehensive wine tasting of over 300 wines that offer a panoramic view ofKosher wines in today’s market.

Sample amazing wines from every major vineyard from Israel , France , Italy , Spain , SouthAmerica , Argentina , New Zealand , Australia , UnitedStates and more at this annual wine Extravaganza.

Taste and enjoy wines from wineries such as: Adar, Aldaz, Alexander, Baron Herzog, Barkan, Bartenura, Binyamina, Borgo Real, Bravdo Capcanes, Carmel, Casa Da Corsa, Castell D’Olerodola, Chosen, Cordovero, Covenant, Dalton, De Elvi, Domaine du Castel, Dovev, Drappier, Efrat, Ella Valley Vineyards, En Fuego, Five Stones, Flechas, Florenza, Gabriele, Gamla, Goose Bay, Guillermo, Gush Etzion, Harkham, Joseph River, K Wines, Kinneret, Lan Zur, Laurent Perrier, Luis de Sacy, Mony, Noah, Notte Italiana, Odem Mountain, D’Owyers, Or Haganuz, Pacifica, Psagot, Ramon, Rashi, Recanati, Segals, Shiloh, Tabor, Teal Lake, Teperberg, The Cave, Tierra Salvaje, Tishbi, Tzora, Vignobles David, Weinstock, Yatir, Yogev exciting new wineries from France and many many more.

Schedule of EVENTS

VIP Tasting: 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Tickets available on line only! $60.00 per (pay on Gotham’s site)

(VIP tickets entitles attendees to the entire event)

Part1: Join Chief Winemaker Shiki Rauchberger of Teperberg Winery for a wine tasting showcasing wines from his iconic winery. The wines are:

Reserve Blend 2009 – Un-released magnum

Premium 2009- Un-released 750ml

Malbec 2009 750ml

Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010- barrel samples

Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007-2008-2009 750ml

Port 2010 750ml


Early Admittance: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Tickets available on line only! $40.00 per (pay on Gotham’s site)


Standard Tickets: 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Tickets available on JDeal – link above

For all the hard core wine lovers out there, this is the time and the place to taste or simply enjoy some of the best kosher wines in today’s market.

Gotham’s 8th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza

As I have reported on for the past two years, Gotham throws crazy wine tasting with an array of wines unmatched by any other kosher wine tasting event. Well, this year it almost looked like it would not happen. However, after much travails Costas and Gotham Wines will be throwing their 8th iteration of this wonderful and note worthy kosher wine tasting. I hope that anyone in the area can make it. Yes, it is on a school night, but I hope that will not hold you all back from attending! Show up or be square.

Taken from the notice…


For seven years Gotham brought you the ONLY comprehensive wine tasting of over 300 wines that offer a panoramic view of Kosher wines in today’s market.

Sample amazing wines from every major vineyard from Israel, France, Italy, Spain, South America, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, United States and more at this annual wine Extravaganza.

Don’t miss out on this unique Kosher wine tasting.

VIP Tasting Hour
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Ticket Price $60.00 per person (VIP Ticket cover the entire event)
Tickets are only available for advance purchases. Limited Space Available.
The VIP hour includes a sit down tasting with Costas. As always some older and some new treasures will be shared and discussed.

Main Wine Tasting Event
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Advance Tickets $30.00
At the door $35.00

Gotham Wine’s Seventh Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza 2010 – Results

On March 7th, 2010 my friend and I returned to the basement of the Lincoln Square Synagogue, for the Seventh Annual Gotham Kosher Wine Extravaganza. The event is driven by the master in arms, Costas Mouzouras, General Manager of Gotham Wines of Manhattan, NY, and his merry band of helpers. The event was just as busy and successful as the last one we were at in 2009. Just like last year, the tables were setup by wine importer rather than by region, because at this event there was more than just one importer. The event is one of those truly rare opportunities where a person is able to taste wines from all around the world, from any importer, and almost any top line kosher wine that exists out there. Of course, there was a very large table of wines imported by Royal Wines. However, there was another 12 tables of wines from all around the world – are you kidding me? It was like being a kid in a candy shop!

Where else can you taste up to 400 different wines that are from wineries as varied as Dalton, Yarden (not imported by Royal), Recanati, Tishbi, Abrabanel (now Admiral Imports), Red Fern Winery, Happy Hearts Importer, Victor Wines, and Royal (Carmel, Capcanes, and Yatir Winery). Each of these tables had either the wine maker, wine importer, or wine expert. They were knowledgeable about the wines and as passionate about them as I am about wines. Overall the event was another home run. There must have been easily a couple hundred people at the event, all packed into the basement of the Lincoln Square Synagogue (also known as Wink and Stare Synagogue). That said, I never had to wait long to get a glass of wine, and even if one of the people manning the tables was busy talking to a guest about a wine or winery, there was another person happy to pour for others. There was also a fair amount of wine mavens/maniacs, like me, that were a joy to converse with and get tips on what wines were really special or interesting to try, which came in handy when there are 400+ wines to look at/try.

Like last year, the event starts off with a special VIP tasting of some superb wines, two at a time. Last year, the VIP session took a bit too long, while this year it was a bit too fast. That said, there must have been some 40 or so seats at the VIP tasting and 2 folks pouring the wine. So that alone took a fair amount of time. Once the wine was poured we had very little time this year to bond or ruminate with or about the wine, as we had 18 bottles, in total, to taste at the VIP session. Many of these bottles were not on the tables or floor, so it was taste it now, or forever hold your peace. I say that, because many of these bottles are way out of my price range. The only times I get to taste them are either at this event or the Herzog event. The wines that we tasted in the VIP session are listed below with the rest of the wine notes, in their own section. The wines were tasted two at a time, which allowed Costas to talk about how they differ from each other and/or how they mimic each other. It was an awesome hour and well worth the extra few bucks. Read the rest of this entry

Gotham Wine’s Seventh Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza 2010

We are so happy to announce that the date has been set for the Seventh Annual KWE.  It will be on Sunday, March 7th 2010 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 EST at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, NY.  Last year’s Kosher Wine Extravaganza was a total blast, and our write up of it, can be found here.  It is probably best to pay ahead of time, so that you do not have to worry about paying for it at the door.  Also, right now there is a discount for the event, if you buy the tickets online, instead of at the door.  This event is one of those rare opportunities to taste kosher wines from around the world, that is not limited to just one importer or another, and one that includes many high end and low end wines.  Definitely, a solid kosher wine event, with the opportunity to taste so many wines that you would not otherwise afford or have the chance to enjoy.

A moment in time with Costas Mouzouras of Gotham Wines

After Gotham’s 6th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza, we had a real treat when we sat down with Costas Mouzouras – the head wine master at Gotham Wines.  Gotham is the wine purveyor that put on the kosher wine event, and the wines were chosen by Costas, which gave the event a real professional feel, while still feeling homey and not stuffy.  Costas led a one hour wine tasting which my novice friend and I, both found to be a real eye opener.  He talked through how a professional does a wine tasting which my friend found very informational, and I loved the nuggets of information that I did not know of, like how French wood manifests itself in the front of your tongue, while American oak manifests itself on the back of your tongue.

Costas came to NY in 1988 to attend Queens College and soon after landed a job at Gotham Wines, because they had flexible hours, which are imperative to a busy college schedule, and because as Costas puts it – “I have been tasting wine since I was born”.  Since then he has been the driving force in bringing kosher wines to Jews in NY and around America.  In 1989 he started stocking Baron Herzog (1986 being their inaugural vintage), Gan Eden (1985 was their inaugural vintage), Hagafen (1980 was their inaugural vintage), along with a few Israeli wineries.  In 1989, most people thought that Israel produced sweet and toxic wines, excepting for Yarden.  Still, Costas had the foresight to start stocking and teaching his customers about a few wineries in Israel that were actually quite good.  The Israeli wineries that were showcased at that time, were the Tishbi Winery, the Carmel Winery, and the Golan Heights Winery (AKA Yarden).  The Tishbi Winery is a family owned and run business that was founded by Jonathan Tishbi.  Jonathan’s family has been tending grapes and vineyards for more than a century on the advice of Baron Rothschild.  In 1985, he decided to keep some of the grapes for himself, and start producing wines from it, since than the winery has grown into a million bottle wine producing facility.  The Golan Heights story is no less impressive, they too started in the mid 1980s – 1985 to be exact, and have single handedly changed the perception of Israeli wine, by creating a winery that would become the platform from which all subsequent Israeli wineries would mimic.  The winery produces some 7 million bottles and is by far the top producing winery in Israel.  The Carmel winery is one whose history goes as far back as the 1882, when a cooperative of wine makers and wine growers founded a winery on the behest and funding of Baron Edmund de Rothschild.  Since then, the wines produced were weak to say the least, because the grapes grown were not of the noble variety.  There was the famous 1901 Cabernet Sauvignon No 1 vintage and the subsequent 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Outside of those two clear anomalies, the winery was good at producing sweet sacramental wines, and otherwise undrinkable dry wines.  That all changed in the past decade or so, when the winery decided it needed to focus on making world class wines, along with its cash cow sacramental and low label wines.  It has been a massive success, and one worthy a full cheering section. Read the rest of this entry

Gothams’ 6th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza (2009)

Tasting_1This past week saw my friend (the ultimate wine novice) and me at what can truly be called the greatest “kosher wine event” on earth.  This is not the place to come if you want to be fed a wonderful spread, or the place to come if you want to be fed line after line by people who have no idea on what differences there are between a Pinot Gris versus a Pinot Noir, or what differences lay between a Viognier and a Chardonnay.  Nope, this event is where the kosher wine world can come and taste a true assortment of kosher wines that are not under Royal’s control or someone else’s clutches.  Nope, this event is put on by Gotham Winery, one of the places on earth where you can get a truly wonderful collection of kosher wines, and most of them – 362 wines to be exact, were on display at the Lincoln Square Synagogue.  This was the 6th edition of this event, and one that was truly well attended.  About 150 or so individuals packed the synagogues’ auditorium, in the basement, where they were graced with 12 tables laden with wines from all around the world.

Tasting_2The breakdown of the tables, were not by region or varietal, rather by wine distributor.  You see, as described earlier, this wine event was about kosher wine, irrelevant to the distributor or wine maker.  Yes, this wine event brought together wine makers and distributors of kosher wine from around the world.  Dalton was represented, along with Red Fern Winery, and others.  The people pouring the wines, either made them, or imported them because they like and/or realize that the wines have a market, and were explaining the nuances of what they see in them.  This is in stark contrast to the Oxnard event we were at a month ago, where excepting for the three wine makers at the event, the people pouring the wines had no idea of what they were pouring.  This event, gave us a chance to meet Howard Abarbanel (of Abarbanel wines), and sample some distinct wines that he is importing.  It also, gave us a chance to sit down with Costas Mouzouras, of Gotham wines who put on the event, and was hands on throughout.  He led a one hour VIP tasting which we truly enjoyed.  img_4824The wines were unique, including some old vintages that he had at the shop and some new and exciting wines that we had yet to taste.  We will have more on Costas later in a later posting, but for now, it is enough to say that the man is knowledgeable about the wines he sells, and is passionate about the kosher wine community.  I am sure it is not 100% altruism, as he has a business to run, but the event is something that was, and is not required for him to sell his wines.   Yet, he has put it together now for 6 years, and it is a wine event that gives us all a chance to see the world of kosher wines, through a large picture window, rather than the view glass that we have been served up as the “International wine Festival”.  Many thanks to Costas, Gotham Wines, and all the wineries and distributors that took the time out of their busy “Pre-Passover” schedule, to come and display their wines, and share their wisdom and wares together with us all.

Again a heartfelt thanks to Costas, the Gotham Wine crew that helped with the event and the rest of the winemakers and distributors who made the occasion as special as it was. Read the rest of this entry

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