Kosher wine popularity booms among non-kosher consumers, says Royal Wine Corp.

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Israel's wine market is 'doing a lot for the image of kosher wine,' says Jay Buchsbaum of Royal Wine Corp. ©iStock/flil
Israel's wine market is 'doing a lot for the image of kosher wine,' says Jay Buchsbaum of Royal Wine Corp. ©iStock/flil

Related tags Winemaking Consumer

Kosher wine is a beverage trend that continues to grow in popularity, especially among mainstream consumers, because of its perceived higher-quality image due the exacting process the wine must go through to receive the kosher seal. 

“There is a perception that kosher also means cleaner and that kosher also means higher quality,”​ Royal Wine Corp. VP of marketing and director of wine education, Jay Buchsbaum, told BeverageDaily.

After opening its doors in 1948 on the lower east side of metropolitan New York, manufacturer and distributor of kosher wine Royal Wine Corp. has grown its business to a full line of kosher spirits imported from 17 countries.

For wine to receive kosher certification the entire wine making process — “from the crushing of the grape until the bottle is sealed” ​— must be overseen by a Rabbinic authority, Buchsbaum said.

One of the most notable developments of the kosher wine industry is that kosher products no longer appeal exclusively to kosher consumers. In 2015, Mintel identified kosher as the top label claim on food and beverages in the US, beating even 'gluten-free' and allergen claims.

Royal Wine Corp. estimates that 80% to 90% of people who purchase its products are non-kosher.

What makes a wine kosher?

Kosher wine must adhere to the following:

  • A Sabbath-observing Jew to handle the process.
  • Every ingredient added, whether in filtration or clarification along the vinification process, must be kosher.
  • All tools & equipment must be dedicated to kosher winemaking alone.

Source: Royal Wine Corp.

“What’s interesting specifically about wine is that 30 years ago, the only kosher wine you could get is sweet, syrupy, sacramental, concord wine,”​ Buchsbaum said.

However, the market diversity for kosher wine has grown to include hundreds of varieties.

Israel is an emerging market for wine

According to Buchsbaum, what has helped the kosher wine industry grow is the increasing popularity of wines produced in Israel.

“Israel is the next trending wine producing country,”​ Buchsbaum said. “Twenty years ago it was New Zealand; 15 years ago it was Chile.

“There is a recognition and a real march towards the absolute highest quality in kosher wines.”

Non-kosher marketing strategy

Royal Wine Corp.’s marketing strategy does not emphasize its kosher certification, however keeping the kosher symbol on its products is important the company’s family tradition and its connection to its original consumer base, Buchsbaum said.

“We have thousands of billboards all over the US and there is no kosher symbol on the billboard,” ​he said.

“We recognize that our original base is still our kosher consumer and we still have a very strong connection.”

Tasting-focussed marketing strategy

Royal Wine Corp. believes the most effective way to reach consumers is through wine tastings and holds multiple mass tasting events throughout the year, including its upcoming Kosher Food & Wine Experience event in New York City on February 13, 2017.

“We spend more time, money, and effort in all of our marketing on tasting than we do anything else. We believe that most important deciser is the final end consumer,”​ Buchsbaum said.

“And the best way to reach that final consumer is to have them experience the wine.”

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