The story of 2012 Tiferet begins with the relationship between Rabbi Shmuly Hecht, a devoutly religious young Jewish man who has recently moved to the Okanagan from Brooklyn, and myself. I am not religious, but I did have a bar mitzvah... and a bris. Together we are endeavouring to make the worlds first (I'll have to verify that claim) certified organic, uncooked kosher wine.
The kosher laws are very strict around wine because of its use as a sacrament. Most kosher wine is cooked, and is of poor to acceptable quality. To make kosher wine that is not cooked, it must be made privately in a sacramental way only by those who follow all 613 of the Torah's commandments.
We are making ours with the help of Rabbi Hecht and Rabbi Teitlebaum, who is a koshering authority from Ottawa. The rabbis' are the only hands to touch the wine, or any unsealed vessel that contains the wine. They operate all of the equipment and perform every task that requires contact with the wine itself. We have sealed ourselves up in a single bay garage on the Summerhill property as our own private temple of wine.
The wine itself bears the signature of consulting winemaker Eric von Krosigk. Eric selected the grapes (60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon), the date of harvest, and the barrels. We could only make a wine like this from a vintage like 2012, with so little in the way of intervention. Although Eric is all over it, the result will truly be the work of mysterious forces beyond our control. Sampling the barrels today was a religious experience.
I must finish with a disclaimer. The koshering authority will not grant its approval to the wine until it is sealed properly in the bottle, so it may end up being just a regular old, really delicious certified organic wine. That would be okay for some of us, but it would mean I would not be able to enjoy a glass with the good Rabbi and his family, so I'm really hoping this comes through.
CEO, Summerhill Pyramid Winery