Brooklyn, NY – The eighth grade boys of Yeshiva Oholei Torah in Crown Heights were treated to a six month long project as winemaker Joseph Zakon, who produces wines under the brands KESSER, Joseph Zakon Winery, Farbrengen and SELOH, gave the class, which included his own son, a hands on winemaking demonstration. The wine was made using a technique known as carbonic maceration, in which whole grapes are fermented without being crushed, a process that is time consuming, but produces a natural wine without any additives.
“This is a dry wine, the way Hashem wants wine to be,” Zakontold VIN News. “I felt this was something that would enhance their overall curriculum and my son was very excited to do this. I am only disappointed that I never did this with my older boys.”
The project began in September with each boy receiving an empty ninety six ounce plastic bottle and three pounds of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes and ended in March with each student bottling, corking, labeling and sealing their own bottle of wine. The result? A dry, fruity red Kosher L’Pesach wine, with a sixteen percent alcohol content that, according to Zakon, has a nice flavor now but will improve with age as it develops.
“The boys felt like a million bucks,” said Zakon, who admitted he would be happy to teach everyone how to make wine.
But the best part of this undertaking for Zakon was the ability to take on a project like this with his own son.
“The most beautiful thing you can for yourself and your kids is to participate in a hands on project with your children,” said Zakon. “Everyone is always looking to help kids. Help your own kids. Do something with them. There is simply no greater nachas.”
Watch the 8 minute video below, Zakon describes the wine making process he undertook with the boys, showing footage of the entire project which included two trips to the Herzog winery to see how grapes are processed and how wines are bottled.
“Kedem is proud to be involved in this science project,” said Mordy Herzog, Vice President of Herzog Wineries. “It’s nice to teach our children the meaning of Pesach and give them a hands on experience so that they can see how the wine and grape juice they will be using for the Seder is actually made.”
Video credit: CJ STUDIOS