Wise Temple congregants will be tasting a variety of wines and learning about them at the Wine Tasting and Shabbat Dinner on Friday, March 20.
The wines originate from Israel and other parts of the world with a Jewish connection. The four-course dinner is paired with both red and white wines, and focuses on wines meant to be consumed with food. Dr. Jim Greenberg, congregant, wine connoisseur and emcee, will regale attendees with each wine’s unique story and flavor during the lively dinner. It’s an interactive, informal, informative, and entertaining evening like no other.
Greenberg and his wife Jann have teamed up with Wise Temple to present this event for ten years, and every year is a new opportunity to learn about wine, as Greenberg’s base of considerable knowledge continues to expand.
Connoisseurs and newcomers alike are welcome. “I really encourage people who are novices or just have an interest in wine to come,” Greenberg says. “It’s a fun, no-pressure situation. You really don’t need to know a lot about wine to enjoy it. It’s a good way to demystify the thinking that it’s a complicated subject for experts only!” He enjoys helping people learn to appreciate wine, to incorporate it into their lives in a meaningful way, especially while making Kiddush. Greenberg explains that consumption of wine at Shabbat and Havdalah has been a component of Jewish rituals since biblical times, “Sharing of wine is an enjoyable, communal experience, perfect for celebrating friendship, community and shared history.”
The history of Israeli wine is a complex blend of past and present. Creation of Kosher wine is deeply ingrained in the culture, but not all wines are Kosher. Greenberg notes that Kosher wines must be made by observant Jews at all stages of grape growth through production of the final product. Additional criteria are required to classify as Kosher for Pesach. Some Kosher wines are also heat-treated to achieve “mevushal” status. Israel’s climate, due to its varied elevations and north-south orientation, has multiple micro-climates and soil conditions that lend themselves to a wide range of grape varieties. In the past 30 years, the wine industry in Israel has evolved, incorporating New World expertise. The quality of the final product has improved as a result.
Greenberg developed an interest in wine during his college days, while assisting faculty members with the purchase of wine and cheese for undergraduate and faculty meet and greets. Over the years, he has been a member of wine tasting groups, and he and Jann have hosted tastings in their home for his co-workers. When they travel, they frequently visit wine growing regions to better develop their palates and knowledge.
Although Greenberg doesn’t have a favorite wine, sharing some of the ones he enjoys the most with the Wise Temple community is one of his favorite things to do. At the end of the evening, a wine raffle provides take-homes for some lucky winners. The Wine Tasting and Shabbat Dinner begins at 7:15 PM on Friday, March 20 at Wise Center. RSVPs required.