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The Italian company Martini and Rossi make a bottled drink called "Martini" - it has a good hechsher from Rav Gerlich from Milano and the Israeli Rabbinate. Martini is made from red wine and alcohol - it is transparent in color and has a very dry taste with a hint of the red wine.

What bracha do you make on Martini?

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Welcome, Danny Lieberman, to judaism.stackexchange.com, and thanks for your good question. (Note, though, that for practical halacha you should always CYLOR rather than relying on the answers you get here.) I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. –  msh210 Aug 15 '11 at 17:14
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@msh210 Absolutely CYLOR. The question came up this evening over dinner - a friend turned me on to Martini (the bottled drink, not the cocktail) so I got a bottle. When I said she'hakol on it - my daughter corrected me and said "Abba - that should be "pri hagafen" so being a geek I went to stackexchange! –  Danny Lieberman Aug 15 '11 at 18:15
    
Sounds like your daughter could use am account of her own. What was her reasoning? –  WAF Aug 15 '11 at 19:40
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@WAF Naama's reasoning was that the Martini & Rossi Martini bottle label says based on Red wine, alcohol and sugar. Since red wine is the first ingredient on the label, and therefore a "rov", then Martini must be 'behezkat' yayin. –  Danny Lieberman Aug 15 '11 at 20:31
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2 Answers

I have no idea what the kosher certifications are or aren't; I'm not speaking to any of that.

According to Wikipedia,

Martini is made from four ingredients: wine, botanicals, sugar and alcohol.

It's a vermouth, i.e. a flavored wine. I see no reason why the bracha would not be the same borei pri hagafen (or hagefen for Sephardim) as other wine or grape juice products.

If I recall correctly, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch says that if vermouth is sufficiently flavored to no longer be called "wine", then the prohibition of stam yeinam no longer applies at that stage and the vermouth can be handled by non-Jews. (The Chochmas Adam quotes this as well, but appears to conclude stringently.) But I don't see that affecting its bracha status.

Of course this discussion refers to Martini vermouth; a martini cocktail is >70% gin by volume (with vermouth, such as Martini brand, as a lesser ingredient) and would be shehakol. Whether the olive (onion if a Gibson) garnish gets its own bracha is a separate question ...

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Stam yeinam was on halachah yomit the past week.... Anyhow, as you correctly note - the bracha question is unrelated to the question of non Jews handling the product. I'll ask Rabbi Lau (we live in Modiin Israel - be interesting to hear what he says –  Danny Lieberman Aug 15 '11 at 18:19
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+1 for knowing about onions and Gibsons :) –  avi Aug 15 '11 at 18:20
    
The olive is clearly tafel to the martini! –  JXG Aug 16 '11 at 7:08
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Diluted wine is still ha-gefen. Wine is always diluted, in fact we don't make a ha-gefen on wine until after water has been added to it. Before water is added, the wine is is too strong to drink, and we make a ha-aytz.

Brachos 50b

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Not all diluted wine is hagafen. See Shalom's good answer, which mentions martinis. –  msh210 Aug 15 '11 at 17:31
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@zaq, the question is how diluted. If I recall correctly, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen in "The Radiance of Shabbos" says he spoke with someone at Kedem and concluded you could still make borei pri hagefen if you added 7.99 ounces of water to 8 ounces of their grape juice; but no further. –  Shalom Aug 15 '11 at 17:56
    
Ironically, he gets the same answer but for different reasons. –  avi Aug 15 '11 at 18:22
    
I guess it can be diluted to the point where it is no longer wine, but a smaller-dilution would not change the brucha away from ha-gefen for the reason I give. (I'd be interested to see why Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen decided grape juice couldn't be diluted 50% - but maybe that applies only to Grape juice, which doesn't need to be diluted at all to drink it, and not to Wine, which is actually required to be diluted before it's edible.) –  zaq Aug 15 '11 at 18:30
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@zaq That was true in time of Mishna ve'Talmud when the wine ("chamra") was much much stronger than today and essentially undrinkable. Refer to the Yerushalmi Berachot Perek Zayin - you will see that Hellenistic sources were noheg 1/3 wine and 2/3 water whereas Chazal consistently refer to a Reviit and "mayim colshehoo" as excluding mezigah shel mamash. This is the source for people who add water to the kiddush wine today but in all likelihood (and some poskim will rule this) the minhag is unnecassary. –  Danny Lieberman Aug 15 '11 at 18:37
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