Vintage Wine

Vintage Wine

For thousands of years Our Rabbis of Blessed memory have praised the benefits of drinking vintage wine. We need to drink wine on many occasions. These include Purim, Kiddush every Shabbat and four glasses of wine at the Seder. Our Rabbi of Blessed Memory also understood the dangers of drunkenness at inappropriate times.

The rabbis of the Gemara believed vintage wine to be healthier than newer wine. They said: Three products increase bowel movements, make one have bad posture and take one five hundredth of a person’s vision, these are coarse black bread, new alcoholic beverages (new wine) and fresh vegetables. They further stated three products decrease bowel movements, straighten one’s posture and bring sight to one’s eyes. These are: clean white bread, fatty meat and vintage wine. (Pesachim 42a) The Gemara continues to discuss that vintage wine, as well as other items are healthy for the whole body. Some of these other foods are discussed at:

When selling wine the seller needs to be specific with his sales pitch. If he lies, then he must return the buyers money. The Gemara says, if one says, I am selling you old wine, he must give him from last year. If he said I am selling you very old wine he must supply him with wine from three years ago. (Baba Batra 98a)

In addition to looking on the label to see a wine’s age, you can also look at its meniscus. You see this by looking at the ring of wine at the top when you tilt the wine glass. Older red wines lean towards brown, orange and yellow. New wines have a purple meniscus darker than the wine.

When the Holy Temple was standing, eating the meat sacrifices brought great pleasure. Our Rabbis have said that since the Holy Temple has been destroyed, and we cannot eat the meat of sacrifices, instead we should drink wine on the Holidays when we are commanded to be happy, as it is written: Rav Huna says that one now celebrates the holiday with clean clothing and vintage wine. This is learned form the pasuk in Tehilim (104) Wine makes a person’s heart happy. (Pesachim 71a)

Although vintage wine tastes good and has certain health benefits other situations require new wine. Certain sacrifices in the temple were accompanied by wine. These wine libations need to be from new wine made over the last year. The only discussion regards how young the wine for the libations need to be. (Encyclopedia Talmudit) Drunkenness and alcoholism are unhealthy. Any health benefits discussed here are for Torah learning purposes and not medical advice.