Question of the Week:
My friend who is not Jewish asked me what makes kosher wine different to other wine. I didn't know what to say. How would you respond to him without getting into all the technicalities?
There is no visible difference between kosher wine and other wines. The difference is purely spiritual.
Generally speaking, all fruits are kosher, and therefore any pure juice from a fruit, without any additives, should be kosher. The one exception to this is juice from a grape. For wine or grape juice to be kosher, they must be produced and supervised by Jews who are knowledgeable in the laws of keeping kosher.
The reason for this distinction is that wine, more than any other drink, is used for religious purposes. In Jewish tradition, wine is used at wedding ceremonies and Brisses, for Kiddush on Shabbos and festivals, and at the Havdalah ceremony at the conclusion of holy days. Many other religions also use wine in their ceremonies. And there are many other uses for wine that are profane and unholy. For the wine to be kosher and fit to use for Jewish ceremonies, we need to know that the intention of the winemakers was that the wine be used for such purposes, as opposed to any other less sacred purpose.
This teaches an amazing lesson. The thoughts put into creating something have an effect on that creation. Intentions have impact. If a foreign thought can make wine unkosher, imagine what good thoughts can do.