January 26th and 27th: The annual Sommelier Expo which, once again, will be held in Tel-Aviv at Heichal HaTarbut (11 Dizengoff) between 12:00 – 9:00 PM. For a list of participating wineries and wines, see Sommelier’s Website. The event is free of charge but is limited to trade only – you can register to participate here. It is always a great event and one in which you can taste a huge selection of Israeli wines, including many premium wines not usually poured at other Israeli wine festivals.
KFWE Israel, which will be held on Monday, February 2nd and is an invitation-only event hosted by Tzur, Royal’s Israeli importer (and a rare opportunity to taste some of Royal’s great French and California wines which are typically very expensive and somewhat hard to find in Israel.
[London] KFWE London which will be held on February 4th at the Park Lane Hotel in London’s Piccadilly neighborhood. Tickets can be purchased here for this marquee wine tasting opportunity for our European friends.
Hot on the heels of KFWE London is the flagship New York KFWE to be held on February 9th and which, after many years of outgrowing Chelsea Piers (to the extent that a Yacht was docked at the pier last year to allow for additional guests), they are moving to a new and larger location – the Metropolitan Pavilion which is also easier to get to using public transportation. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets early as they always sell out and I get numerous requests for tickets when there are simply none left to be had. It is a great event with plenty of wines and gourmet food and always makes for a very enjoyable evening that is highly recommended. Tickets can be purchased here and use coupon “CORKBOARD18” for $18 off.
Two days letter on February 11th our West Coast friends (and an increasing number of East Coast-based wine nuts who make a special trip) are able to enjoy KFWE Hollywood which is also relocating this year, from the Hyatt to the Hollywood W for the first time. A more relaxed and intimate affair than the gargantuan NY event with the exquisite fare of Tierra Sur’s (easily one of the best kosher restaurants in the United States) Gabriel Garcia. The event starts at 6:00 PM and is super recommended – I have attended the last few years and always have a terrific time. This year, there are VIP tickets for sale which provides access to some specialty whiskeys, liquors and other spirits from around the world in addition to some exclusive delicacies and hand-rolled cigars. Tickets can be purchased here and use coupon “CORKBOARD” for a 20% discount.
After the KFWE smorgasbord, there are three events which allow one to enjoy the large number of non-Royal wines which are not served at the KFWE events (these events include all wines, both Royal and non-Royal wines). On February 15th the Monsey liquor store – Grapevine Wines, will be hosting its annual Grand Kosher Wine / Spirits Tasting at the Grapevine. The event is from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM and provides the opportunity to taste a large selection of wines and spirits in a pretty relaxed setting, with some light food to accompany all the booze. A very nice event hosted by Yehoshua Werth of Kosher Wine Review “fame”. Use CORKBOARD2015 for 15% of the ticket price.
Next is the annual Jewish Week Tasting which will be held on Monday, March 16th at the awesome City Winery in connection with the publication of the Jewish Week’s annual Kosher Wine Guide of which I am one of the founding judges. Tickets can be purchased at a discount ($30) here. this event is one of the best events in which a large range of kosher wines can be tasted, including the many terrific wines NOT in Royal’s portfolio (like Gvaot, Tzora, Recanati, Ella Valley, Golan Heights Winery and many many others).
Last but certainly not least and while I don’t have a date or confirmation on the event yet, every year Gotham Wines holds a pretty extravagant kosher wine tasting on the Upper West Side and I am hopeful it will once again occur this year, so stay tuned for details. All great events that are recommended and worthy of attending. I hope to see you at one or more of them! Now, on to reviewing KIW 2014!
[Israel Event]. This week (August 5th-8th), Jerusalem will once again host the outdoor annual Jerusalem Wine Festival at the Israel Museum. Easily one of the best [and most] fun wine festivals of the year (excluding the professional-oriented Sommelier Expo – see below), this one is highly recommended (even though I will not be attending this year). Run by my buddy Ran Toren (formerly of the Jerusalem branch of incredible Avi-Ben wine store). The festival is open each night from 7-11 PM and the 85NIS entrance charge gets you a glass for unlimited tastings. While not exclusively kosher (for an all-kosher event, see the 972 Festival below), given Jerusalem’s large observant community the vast majority of wines being served will be from kosher wineries.
[California Event]. On August 22, Royal Wine Corporation will, once again, host a more intimate rendition of it’s amazing International Food & Wine Festival (“IFWF“). Unlike the “main” IFWF held in downtown LA, this will be held onsite at the Herzog Winery in Oxnard. From what I hear, this event is a fabulous opportunity to taste the best of Royal quite extensive portfolio while noshing on the incredible treats from the in-house restaurant – Tierra Sur (easily on the best eateries in the United States). Click here for more details and discounted tickets (courtesy of Kosher Wine Musings).
On Tuesday, August 27th the Kosher Wine Society will hold its 5th Annual “Kosher Wines for the New Year” tasting event at the Roger Smith Hotel in midtown Manhattan. I have been every year and it is always a fun event with plenty of new and exciting wines to taste. Check out their page for more information and a detailed wine list and this link for discounted tickets for readers of Yossie’s Corkboard.
[Israel Event]. Easily the best wine event of the year, this year’s Sommelier Expo will be held on January 7-8 in Tel-Aviv (a bit about past events here). As opposed to most wine festivals, the vast majority of wineries and winemakers participate in the Sommelier Expo, which is open to the trade during the day and then to the general public during the evening hours. It provides a great opportunity to taste the top wines from the majority of wineries and even better, time to chat with the winery heads and winemakers about thier wares. Highly recommended if you are in town. Stay tuned for more details and pricing.
On Sunday, July 21st, River Wines (importer of Tishbi, Gush Etzion and others and distributor of Domaine Roses Camille and Shirah Wines) will be hosting an upscale tasting dubbed “Red, White & Champagne”, showcasing their offerings (River Wine List). The event will be held at 6:00 PM at the Brownstone, located in the East Village at 224 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003. Entry is $35, with an early entry (starting at 5:00 PM) & VIP special wine tasting available for $75 (VIP Wine Tasting List here). The VIP tasting will include the famed Domaine Roses Camille, 16-year Tishbi Brandy and some other special treats and there will be some high-end food as well. For more details and to purchase tickets see here.
On July 29th, Renewal will host a wine tasting and culinary experience, together with Royal Wines and many of the Tri-State Area’s finest dining establishments and will include many upper-echelon wines from Royal Wines and a “Cigar Bar”. Renewal is a non-profit dedicated to assisting individuals afflicted with varied forms of kidney disease, with an emphasis on those requiring transplants. A charity worth supporting and a wine-event worth attending rolled in one. For more details check out the event page and tickets can be purchased here.
On February 17th, Monsey’s Grapevine will be hosting a grand tasting between 5:30-8:30 PM at L’Chaim Manor. Details and tickets here, including a detailed (partial) list of some of the 140 wines that will be available.
On March 3rd, the Jewish Week will be holdings its annual Grand Kosher Wine Tasting at City Winery. The event is held every year to celebrate the publication of the Jewish Week’s annual Kosher Wine Guide (for which I am one of the judges). Always a fun event with plenty of new wines available and well worth attending. For more details and tickets check out City Winery’s website. Check out the complete list of wines (and food) in order to better plan your event.
Mark your calendars for February 4th, 2013 which is when Royal Wines will once again be hosting their incredible Kosher Food & Wine Experience. As in the last few years, the event will be held at Pier 60 – Chelsea Piers in New York City and is expected to be a magnificent food and wine extravaganza (details about last year’s events here). Check out KFWE’s website for more details and tickets. Plan your eating & drinking in advance with the event’s tasting guide (use the arrows to navigate from page to page). Use Yossie20 through January 11th for $20 off the ticket price for KFWE.
For West Coasters, the more intimate International Food & Wine Experience will be held in Los Angeles two days later on February 6th. This event showcases the amazing food from Tierra Sur. Use “CORKBOARD. Plan ahead and coordinate your tastings with the event’s tasting booklet.
On December 5th, New York City’s newest addition to the upscale kosher dining scene – Jezebel (located at 323 West Broadway in SoHo) – will be hosting a winemaker dinner with the folks from Covenant Wines – winemaker Jeff Morgan and co-owner Leslie Rudd (of Rudd Vineyards and Dean & Deluca fame). For those not in the know, Jezebel is the only high-end kosher eatery which has non mevushal wine, making it worthy of a visit, irrespective of the food (which is pretty good too). The dinner will include a five course meal specially paired to Covenant’s wines, a number of which are available only from the winery. More details on the wines and courses coming soon.
Dinner is called for 6:30 PM and the cost is $195 (plus tax & tip) and there are only a limited number of seats left, so sign up soon. To reserve seats, email firstname.lastname@example.org and refer to the “Covenant Winery Dinner.” Or call Jezebel directly at (646) 410-0717.
On September 10th at the Carlton Hotel (29th and Madison Avenue), there will be a wine and food pairing event organized by three wine aficionado/foodies that I know and whose love of wine is indisputable. Produced by Nelly Rosenking in an attempt to create a trendier environment than other tastings and partially sponsored by 67Wine (a Manhattan wine shop that is making a serious push into the kosher wine niche with the help of some knowledgeable and passionate kosher wine buyers/employees) who will be providing proper glassware; the event will be limited to 150 people. A carefully curated selection of great kosher wines from most of the kosher wine distributors will be available, with around 60 wines available for tasting. As with Royal’s annual Kosher Food & Wine Event, substantial thought and efforts have been put on the food aspect of the event (my understanding is that the bulk of the ticket price is going toward the food component of the event, with the wines mostly being sponsored). However, quite differently than most wine tasting events, the food will be placed on the tables with the food, providing special wine pairing opportunities and the ability to combine great food and wine together in an easily accessible manner. While the food and aromas will likely distract from ones ability to conduct a serious evaluation of the wines, I doubt that most people are attending such an event for a serious wine tasting and will enjoy the combined food and wine proprieties of the event. Those looking for a more serious tasting opportunity (such as myself), will no doubt somehow find a way to properly evaluate those wines of interest. The folks at 67Wine also recently acquired the rights to the vintage wine collection offered at the Kestenbaum Wine Auction last year (read about the auction, the wines and my thoughts here) and many of these vintage wines will be available for sale at the event (although not for tasting). For more details and to purchase tickets, click here.
Israel Event. See my article about the event here. The bi-annual IsraWine Expo will be held this year on February 21-23 at Israel Trade Fairs Center in the Tel-Aviv Exhibition Gardens. The first day of the event is for the professional trade only with the second and third days being open to the general public. It is a great event with many of Israel’s top wineries showcasing their wines and provides a great opportunity to taste a lot of new wines. The entrance fee of 70 NIS buys you 10 “tasting coupons” with additional coupons available for purchase as well. The event is organized by the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in cooperation with the Israeli Wine Magazine and The Grape-Man Wine Center and is sponsored by the the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute. For those attending IsraWine Expo next week, here is a link with some general tips on making the most of large-scale tastings and most important, a list of the wineries and the wines being poured (Hebrew). For further planning purposes, a map of the exhibition and the wineries.
For more details click here.
My review of the wine auction can be read here. On September 22nd, the Judaica auction house Kestenbaum & Company conducted the first kosher wine auction at the Roger Smith Hotel (501 Lexington Avenue at 47th Street). The auction includes large format and older vintages of many of the top notch kosher wines including Castel, Katzrin, Covenant and others as well as some “collector” items like Carmel’s famed 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon and Yarden’s 1988 Botrytis wines (now undrinkable, but a piece of kosher wine history). Unfortunately they are also auctioning off a number of older vintage wines that are well past their drinking prime (or worse), so caveat emptor and feel free to ping me with any specific questions. I also note that the suggested or estimated prices listed in the catalog are pretty high in my opinion. In any event, it should be an interesting and entertaining evening. To register for the event and view the catalog, click here.
On August 10th come and learn more about Israel as a wine region and the incredible wines produced in Israel. The event is to benefit Leket Israel’s “Nutrition for Life” program! Some of Israel’s best wines will be poured and a number of wine professionals will be on hand to provide information on the varied wines and wineries. Additionally, Yossie will conduct a brief discussion on the wines and wineries. Sign-up in advance and get $25 off the admission price of $100. The event is being held in conjunction with Weil, Gotshal’s “Pay it Forward” campaign and will be help on the 25th floor of Weil’s office in midtown (767 Fifth Avenue at 59th Street).
Sensi held a gala event on June 2nd to benefit Leket Israel. The event will include a great selection of Israel’s premium wines plus a number of wines from four Israeli boutique wineries that are not sold in the US! The event will also have a live auction of Israeli art by a Christie’s auctioneer, great food, some serious prizes and other goodies. The Sensi events are always really fun and provide the opportunity to support a really terrific charity.