Thousands of foodies and wine lovers gathered to savor the latest in fine kosher wines, spirits and creative cuisine at New York City’s Chelsea Piers on Monday evening, February 11th for the much anticipated 13th annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience.
By: Fern Sidman
The Kosher Food & Wine Experience is produced each year by the Royal Wine Corporation. With annual shows in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, it has become largest exhibition of its kind.
This year’s KFWE coincided with the landmark 70th anniversary of the Royal Wine Corp. From its roots as a local producer of kosher grape juice and sacramental wine, Royal Wine evolved under the stewardship of the venerable Herzog family to become world’s leading producer, distributor, and importer of award-winning kosher wines and spirits.
KFWE NY was co-sponsored by Snitow, Kaminetsky, Rosner & Snitow, LLP, BZS Transport, DHL, GORI Wine & Spirit Logistics – a DHL Company and Five Star Packaging.
This premier kosher showcase featured more than 400 intriguing kosher wines and spirits from around the world as well as trend setting cuisine from leading kosher chefs, caterers, restauranteurs and gourmet specialty companies.
Tickets sold out quickly to the 2019 KFWE as more samples of the latest products, limited editions and Passover delicacies than ever before were available to the throngs of kosher consumers who attended.
This year’s spectacular wine selection represented all price points, from the Stoudemire Private Collection from Israel ($260 SRP) to Don Alfonso Sauvignon Blanc from Chile ($7.99 SRP). Consumers were able to sample interesting new varieties from France, Italy, Spain, Israel, Australia, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Washington state, Oregon and California.
One notable addition to this year’s line-up is the Stoudemire Grand Reserve from the cellars of NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire. Made from premium grapes from Kfar Shamay vineyards in the Upper Galilee, only 1680 bottles of this Cabernet-Petit Verdot blend were produced.
Taking center stage once again at this year’s KFWE was Bordeaux. “Those who attended KFWE last year will remember the impressive showing of 2015 vintage Bordeaux,” said Gabriel Geller, wine blogger and public relations director for Royal Wine. “Experts say 2016 was another exceptional year, even surpassing 2015. We’re very excited that these magnificent wines are returning to the spotlight.”
Royal Wine also displayed some brand new wines that were made for the first time in a kosher run. According to Mr. Geller, they include:
Chateau Clarke, Listrac-Medoc 2016: The Rothschild family and Royal Wine are celebrating the 30th anniversary of this flagship wine with a first kosher run of the estate’s Grand Vin.
Chateau du Tertre, Margaux 2016: This outstanding 5th Classified Cru from Margaux, owned and operated by Chareau Giscours, has come out with its first kosher cuvee.
Chateau Giscours, Margaux 2016: The first Grand Cru from Bordeaux’s left bank made a kosher run in 1993. Geller says the winery’s 2016 – its tenth kosher production – is perhaps its best yet.
Chateau Lacombes, Margaux 2016: The first kosher cuvee of this second growth Margaux was a sensation at KFWE last year. “The 2016 is a model of class and elegance, “ according to Geller.
Petit Guiraud, Sauternes 2017 and G de Chateau Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc 2017: One of the most venerable First Cru sauternes estates, Chateau Guiraud, has returned to the kosher wine world after a 16-year hiatus.
Chateau Saint-Corbian, Saint Estephe 2016: Kosher wines from the Saint-Estephe appellation are a rarity. This wine features the classic characteristics of the region at an affordable price tag.
Chateau Montveil, Pomerol 2016: This amazing Pomerol from the respected Vignobles Pere-Verge estate has returned to the KFWE after an absence of several years. “When the winery released a 2014 kosher cuvee it was long sold out before the show,’ said Geller.
Also presenting its finest wines and even some library wines at the 2019 KFWE was the iconic Herzog Winery. The company has been producing award-winning wines from the most prestigious vineyards in California since the 1980s. “Quality is everything. Kosher is just something we ‘happen to be,’” said Jay Buchsbaum, Herzog’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Director of Wine Education.
He added that, “Israeli wines are an unstoppable trend in the U.S. Retailers and restaurants recognize Israel as a region of world-class terroirs. They are fully on board, working with us to raise the profile of kosher wines that are on par with the greatest vintages from around the globe.”
Among the Herzog wines presented were:
Herzog Special Reserve Albarino 2017 plays into the increasingly trendy Albarino, a Spanish white grape variety. It is just one of Herzog’s finest wines being shown at KRWE.
Ramon Cardova Albarino 2017: Another Albarino entry, this hails from its original terroir, Spain’s Rias Baixas DO appellation.
Royal introduced two 2017 vintage Burgundy wines: Domaine Ternynck Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay and Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir.
Pacifica Riesling 2017: From Washington state comes an off dry Riesling with a German-style profile.
Secret Reserve Malbec 2016: Shiloh Winery produces this rich Israeli wine with ripe red and black fruit notes.
Teperberg Providence 2013: Bold and complex, this New World blend is the new flagship wine from one of Israel’s largest wineries.
Included in this year’s wine exhibitors list at the KFWE were Hagafen, Herzog Wine Cellars, Goose Bay, Pacifica, Koening, Teal Lake, Tazfona, Bokobsa, Wines of France, Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Chateau Lascombes, Drappier, Laurent Perrier, Rollan de By, Vignobles Malartic, Champagne Barons de Rothschild, Gamla, Flechas del os Andes, Alfasi, Ramon Cordova, Elvi Wines/Clos Mesorah, Capcanes, Freixinet, Bartenura, UVA, Ovadia by Ovadia Bartenura, Terra di Seta, Castel, FLAM, Alexander, Nadiv, Psagot, Teperberg, Yatir, Binyamina/Cave/Binymina Liquers, Chizay, Walder’s, Morad Winery, Tzuba, Zion/1848, Tulip, Chateau Remo, jezereel, Schmerlings Liquer, Tabor, Carmel, Madmon Winery, Montefiore, Vitkin, Barkan/Segal’s, Or Haganuz, Heavens, Padis, Gush Etzion, Matar by Pelter, and Shiloh.
Founded in 1848, Royal Wine Corp. has been owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family, whose winemaking roots date back eight generations to 19th century Czechoslovakia.
Today, Royal Wine Corp is the leading producer, importer and distributor of kosher wines and spirits, headquartered in Bayonne, NJ, offers more than 300 brands in its portfolio including Bartenura Moscato, the best-selling Italian Moscato in America (kosher or not) which they own.
Their portfolio of domestic and international wines hail from nearly every significant wine producing region in the world including California, France, Italy and Spain, as well as Israel, New Zealand and Argentina.
Additionally, Royal Wine Corp. imports, produces and distributes a growing portfolio of spirit and liqueurs which includes many sought after scotches, bourbons, tequilas and vodkas as well as hard to find specialty items such as flavored brandies and liqueurs.
The company owns and operates the Kedem Winery in upstate New York, with a tasting room and gift shop as well as Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, California, a state-of-the-art-facility featuring guided wine tours, a fully staffed modern tasting room, gift shop and catering facilities. Additionally, the Oxnard winery houses the award-winning restaurant Tierra Sur, serving the finest Mediterranean inspired contemporary California Cuisine.
Hundreds of intriguing samples from the area’s finest kosher restaurants, caterers, and specialty food companies were also served up throughout the evening. Eyebrow-raising options included cinnamon buns topped with fake “bacon,” deconstructed falafel, veal, duck, bison, varieties of wild mushroom, cooked and raw fishes, bourbon baked beans, risotto and new twists on sushi.
Vendors included ALENbi Kitchen, Bison & Bourbon, Chani Greenbaum Events, Buffalo2go, Chop Chop, Elegant Desserts NY, Elite & Wissotzky, Factory 220, Graze Smoke House, Great Falls Bistro, Grow & Behold, Jack’s Gourmet, Judd’s Memphis Kitchen, Kosher Poke, Le Marais, A Taste of the Mediterranean by Ta’amti, Marani, Pelleh Farms, R & Z Kosher Smoked Meats, Silverleaf Caterers, Sushi Tokyo, T Fusion Steakhouse, Taam Eden Bakery, Teaneck Doghouse, The Nuttery, Tirat Zvi Sandwich Bar, UN Plaza Grill & Sushi, Urban Pops, and West Wing.
Kosher.com, a Jewish lifestyle and entertainment website featuring thousands of kosher recipes and over 18 original cooking shows, was among the dozens of vendors on hand. Editor Chanie Nayman remarked, “The kosher industry is more robust and more sophisticated than ever, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Not only are kosher eateries are popping up all over the country, but everyone from home cooks to professional chefs are taking grandma’s kitchen legacy to an entirely new level.”