A bottle of Herzog Jeunesse Chardonnay has made its way back to the original person who first purchased it, after going through no more than five Sabbath meals unopened. It was traced back after a month of research. A common custom when getting an invite to someone’s home for a Sabbath meal, be it Friday night dinner, or Saturday lunch, is to bring the host a bottle of wine. Fairly standard in many cultures, when the wine has to be kosher, it can sometimes be a little more difficult to please those hosting. This was recently learned when “David” (his real name being protected) recently hosted a Sabbath lunch, and received the exact same bottle he had purchased three months earlier.
“I knew it was the one I had bought because I had spilled some tomato sauce on the table it was on weeks ago, and when I cleaned it off, there was a small stain on the back label. It was barely noticeable, but when a friend brought over the bottle, I saw the exact same stain in the exact same spot.”
While non-kosher wines number in the thousands, the kosher selection is much smaller, and when a low-end wine is brought to a meal, it is often left unopened and circulated over and over again. “Steve”, a local in the neighborhood had his to say. “Look, we all know the tricks. You can basically bring a bottle of Moscato and be safe. Any girl will be like, ‘Oh my God, I love that wine!’ Uh, yeah, I know sweetie. But if you want to go red, you have to make sure the people you are bringing it to have no clue what stuff costs, otherwise they’re going to know you only shelled out like ten bucks or something for something from Chile.” Often referred to as “Chick Wine” the sweet bubbly Moscato resembles more of a soda than an actual wine. It’s when one veers away from the safe bet of the Bartenura Moscato that things can get tricky.
Ben Schulweiss a board member at Beth Torah synagogue was up front about the Jewish community. “We need to be honest. Most people have no clue what the hell a good wine even is, so who cares? No way I’m shelling out one hundred bucks for a Castel when I know the Schneiders would be just fine with any red dreck I brought over. It’s the thought that counts anyway.”
Jeff Schoenfeld, owner of The Wine Box, a popular kosher wine store in the area had some advice. “It’s best to just be prepared what to expect. If you are the host and you are having someone over who is Jewish and ‘spiritual’, or someone not Jewish at all, you may want to get ready for Manischewitz, but that’s only because they just don’t know any better. It’s not their fault. If you are the guest, and even slightly involved in the Jewish community, you should at least go fifteen dollars or higher. Of course, if you find some obscure wine no one has ever heard of, then feel free to get it and pretend like you know what you’re talking about even though it might be garbage. In general stay away from white. everyone hates it and it goes with nothing.”
That was a lesson David learned the hard way.
In the future David has pledged he will only go red, and anything else will be Moscato, or something sweeter if it comes out before his next invitation, especially if there will be girls at the meal.