Yes, Virginia, You Do Make Kosher Wine | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Yes, Virginia, You Do Make Kosher Wine

Yes, Virginia, You Do Make Kosher Wine

Harvest. Via molonlavevineyards.com

The Molon Lave Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is a pleasing effort.

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Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson is smiling. Our third President was an unabashed oenophile, asserting that “wine from long habit has become an indispensable for my health.” While at Monticello, he consumed an average of 400 bottles of French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Italian wine annually.  He spent a great deal of time and effort trying to make his home state of Virginia into a world-class winemaking region. Unfortunately Jefferson could never produce a decent wine from the vineyards planted near his estate.

The biggest problem with Virginia vineyards was phylloxera, a sap-sucking aphid-like bug that destroys vines. The European vines that Jefferson planted in Virginia were especially susceptible. So for many decades the Virginia wine industry languished, briefly recovering before Prohibition effectively shut down the entire domestic industry.

In the 1960s a growing recognition of the region’s potential lead to a renewed interest in making wine in the Old Dominion State. The subsequent years have seen an explosion in vineyard acreage, the birth of new wineries, steadily improving quality and rising sales. Virginia wineries sold a record-setting 6.3 million bottles last year and the state now boasts over 250 wineries including such stars as BarboursvilleRdVDelaplane,Philip CarterKeswick and Paradise Springs that produce many highly rated, award-winning and much sought-after bottlings.

The only winery currently making kosher wine in Virginia is the family-owned Molon Lave Vineyards. Louizos Papadopoulos, whose Greek heritage gives him a Jeffersonian passion about wine, established it in 2009. The winery devotes 25 percent of its production to kosher wines because some of the owner’s Jewish friends “jokingly said we should make some kosher wine, and that’s how it started.” The full-bodied, kosher Molon Lave Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is a pleasing effort with dark cherry, raspberry and cassis and chocolate flavors with a silky finish. A nice way to experience the results of Jefferson’s dream fulfilled.

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