My understanding is that wine or grape juice is s'tam yenam and forbidden if handled by non-Jews without having been cooked. (See, e.g., an explanation on chabad.org.) The practical result of this, for the consumer, is that wine and grape juice (in the United States, say) are almost always manufactured by a religious-Jewish-owned company, or on a run for its label: one hardly sees wine or grape juice on the market that is kosher but manufactured by a general-market company. Yet one does see general-market, kosher goods with wine or grape juice as an ingredient. Why?

  • Is it that some heter, not relied on for pure wine or grape juice, is relied on when the wine or grape juice is merely an ingredient? What heter?
  • Or is it that I'm wrong that s'tam yenam is the reason that major brands' wine and grape juice isn't kosher, and there's some other, not halacha-related reason (which therefore doesn't apply to such wine- and grape-juice-containing products)? What reason?
  • Or what?

As an example, Kikkoman Foods's Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce lists wine as its second ingredient (right after soy sauce) and is certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union (as of this writing). As another, many a brand of dijon mustard, containing white wine as an ingredient, is certified kosher by, for example, OK Kosher.


4 Answers 4


I've been part of a group that did Hashgacha on a production of grape concentrate for the OU. The grapes are untouched by non-jewish hands from when the are loaded into the crusher until after the juice is boiled.

The run was specifically for Grape Juice Concentrate. The grapes were taken directly from the field to the crusher and were completely processed on premises. This probably makes grape juice concentrate logistically much easier to produce in a kosher manner than grape juice itself, which has additional factors that (I'm assuming) must be taken into account such as the kashrut status of the bottling facility and transportation of the juice to said bottling facility.

It may just not be worth it for the companies to pay the added expense needed to make kosher grape juice.

  • I'm curious: were they touched by Jewish hands after that, or is the entire process automated?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 16:44
  • @DoubleAA: All actions were performed by Jews, even though the actions didn't involve touching the actual grapes or juice themselves. e.g. hooking the cart of grapes up to the machine that dumps them in the crusher; pressing the button to start the crusher as well as all the other buttons; etc.
    – Menachem
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 16:51
  • Why is that necessary? Or is it just a procedural issue to avoid accidental actual touching.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 16:55
  • 2
    @DoubleAA: The idea was that any action required to process the grapes/juice be done by a Jew. I don't know if this is halacha or just policy. Once the juice left the crusher it was inside pipes and tanks and not really able to be touched (although there were ways to access the juice to check it). Interestingly, someone who did Wine hashgacha in a plant under the suppervision of Gershon Mendel Garelik in Italy told me that they hang tarps around the crushers so the non-jewish workers can't even see the grapes from when they are crushed.
    – Menachem
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 17:01
  • @ShmuelBrin: I don't know what the OK does. I don't know if Rabbi Garelik is the only one who conceals the grapes from the crushing.
    – Menachem
    Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 3:17

Seems that either they use wine/grape juice concentrate (assuming it was Halachicly cooked when it's concentrated) or else they use Kosher Wine under supervision.

Once wine is added to the mix (or spices to the wine) it no longer has the problem of s'tam yenam, and no longer needs tight "Kosher Wine" supervision, as explained below:

See Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 123:4 סימן קכג - כמה דינין מיין נסך, (ואיזו יין נאסר משום יין נסך)‏ where it says:

יַיִן שֶׁמְּעָרְבִין בּוֹ דְּבַשׁ וּפִלְפְּלִין, אִם נִשְׁתַּנָּה טַעֲמוֹ מֵחֲמָתָם אֵינוֹ נֶאֱסָר בְּמַגַּע עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים. וְהוּא הַדִּין בִּדְבַשׁ (ד) לְחוּד אוֹ פִּלְפְּלִין לְחוּד (בֵּית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם תְּשׁוּבַת רַשְׁבָּ''א) . ‏

באר היטב (ד) לחוד. כל שנשתנה טעם היין ונראה דה''ה שאר דברים כל שנשתנה טעמו מחמתן כ''כ בד''מ: ‏


Wine that has honey and pepper mixed into it, if this causes taste [of the wine] to change, it is not forbidden if a non-Jew touches it. True if even honey or wine were added to it.

Adds the B'er Heitev:

This is true no matter what to add to it to change the taste.

And then in the next Se'if:

תַּבְשִׁיל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ יַיִן וְנָגַע בּוֹ הָעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים, אֲפִלּוּ קֹדֶם שֶׁהִרְתִּיחַ, אֵין בּוֹ (ה) מִשּׁוּם יַיִן נֶסֶךְ

Food that has wine added to it, is not forbidden if a non-Jew touches it, even before it gets cooked.

The רמ"א there adds that it's only if the wine cannot be seen - as opposed to cooking things floating in the wine. But even then only if the taste hasn't changed.

הגה: וְדַוְקָא תַּבְשִׁיל שֶׁאֵין הַיַּיִן נִכָּר בּוֹ בָּעַיִן, אֲבָל בְּשֻׁמָּן וְחַרְדָּל שֶׁנָּתְנוּ בּוֹ יַיִן וְהוּא בְּעַיִן צָף לְמַעְלָה, הָוֵי בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם יַיִן נֶסֶךְ (תּוֹסָפוֹת בְּשֵׁם ריצב''א) . וְנִרְאֶה דַּוְקָא אִם לֹא נִשְׁתַּנָּה טַעֲמוֹ מֵחֲמַת דָּבָר הַמְעֹרָב בּוֹ (ד''ע) . וְאִם נִתְעָרֵב בְּיַיִן מְבֻשָּׁל, אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּבַשׁ לְכֻלֵּי עָלְמָא שָׁרֵי, דְּהָא לֹא גָּרַע מֵאִלּוּ הָיָה דְּבַשׁ לְחוּד (הג''א פא''מ וד''ע) . וְאִם אֵין בּוֹ דְּבַשׁ, יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים דִּמְשַׁעֲרִין כְּאִלּוּ הָיָה הַמְבֻשָּׁל מַיִם, (בֵּית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם רַשְׁבֵּ''ץ וְהג''א שָׁם) וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים דְּאִם הַמְבֻשָּׁל רֹב, אֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם מַגַּע עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים (בֵּית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם גְּדוֹלֵי הַדּוֹר) . וְיַיִן שֶׁנִּקְרַשׁ, אֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם מַגַּע עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים (חִדּוּשֵׁי אֲגֻדָּה), וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן אִם נָגַע בְּחֶרֶס הַבָּלוּעַ מִיַּיִן (הַגָּהוֹת אֲשֵׁרִי) . ‏

Question: Is the Shulchan Aruch permitting one to eat the above mixtures, or only to derive benefit from them?

The באר היטב then seems to prove that the Shulchan Aruch is permitting the above to be eaten.

באר היטב (ה) משום. כתב ב''י דמשמע מדברי הפוסקים דאפילו בשתיה מותר והוקשה לו ממ''ש רש''י מותרת בהנאה גבי אלונתית משמע דבשתיה אסור ודחק ליישב פרש''י להסכימו ג''כ להיתר שתיה והט''ז כתב דבאמת פשוט לרש''י אסור בשתיה מדנקט מותר בהנאה (אבל זה אינו שהרי רש''י כתב בדין זה במבושל דלא מיתסר בהנאה והרי ש''ס ערוכה היא דמבושל בשתיה מותר דהא שמואל היה שותה עם אבלט ע''ש דף ל' אלא אדרבה מדין זה נראה ראיה ברורה לדברי ב''י דכ''מ שכתב רש''י לא מיתסר בהנאה פירושו אף בשתיה): ‏


Grape juice as an ingredient is almost always from concentrate, which automatically makes it bishul.

(But the company that concentrates it needs very strict supervision and I wonder how they do it, so I'm always nervous when I see grape juice as an ingredient.)

  • 3
    Why is concentrate bishul?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 16:44
  • @DoubleAA: A quick search turned up this: Most grape concentrates are made by boiling grape juice at reduced pressure to eliminate about 75-80% of the water naturally present. - winemaking.jackkeller.net/concentr.asp - I couldn't find a more authoritative source.
    – Menachem
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 19:01
  • @Menachem Boiling at reduced pressure means the temperature is lower than regular boiling. Is that considered Bishul?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 19:59
  • @DoubleAA: no idea. According to the OU, the temperature is 175: docs.google.com/… My understanding is that R' Moshe said lower.
    – Menachem
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 23:50

From FAQs from the OU:

Grape Juice as an Ingredient

Are grape juice and wine ingredients used in OU certified products such as mustard and fruit cups always Mevushal?

OU certified products contain only OU approved ingredients. As such, wine, grape juice, grape flavor and grape derivatives in OU products are only approved in such products when they are Mevushal (cooked), so that there is no concern of Stam Yaynom (wine and grape juice products handled by a non-Jew).

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