Grape Juice From Concentrate
Rabbi Dovid Cohen Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
Over the years, there has been considerable debate regarding the bracha on grape juice produced from concentrate, and whether such juice is suitable for Kiddush and daled kosos. As many consumers use grape juice for exactly those purposes, it is crucial that any certified grape juice be suitable for those mitzvos. This document will review the highlights of the primary opinions regarding this issue.
In summary, pasteurized or concentrated grape juice cannot ferment and therefore does not have the full status of wine. As a result, the bracha on it is hagafen but water added to it doesn’t require that bracha. Seemingly, the bracha on reconstituted juice shouldn’t be hagafen but even if it is, it isn’t suitable for Kiddush.
Rav Belsky and Rav Felder
In summary, Rav Belsky and Rav Felder cite proofs from unrelated statements in Tosfos which indicate that the bracha on reconstituted wine is hagafen and that such wine is suitable for Kiddush. A careful analysis shows that although both Tosfoses are discussing concentrated wine they serve as proofs against Rav Auerbach’s position regarding reconstituted grape juice.
Rav Auerbach suggests that concentrated grape juice retains some characteristics of wine, but may not be able to project those characteristics to water used for reconstitution and is not suitable for kiddush. Others have suggested proofs that appear to disprove some of Rav Auerbach’s assumptions, and after careful analysis there appears to be merit to their claims.
[In a reversal of a longstanding position], Rav Schwartz has accepted these proofs and arguments, and ruled that the proper bracha on grape juice from concentrate is hagafen, and that such juice may be used for kiddush and daled kosos.