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Pomegranate Wine

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Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 17, 5772
Question
There is a new industry growing for wine made exclusively from pomegranates. The bracha is obviously she’hakol. However, I’m wondering about the other halakhic implications. 1) Can it be considered chamar medina for daytime kiddush/havdalah? 2) If it is not made in Israel (thereby excluding agricultural halakhot), does it really require an hekhsher? Besides perhaps Maarit Ayin, is there any difference between this and beer that is without an hekhsher ? 3) Would it be part of the prohibition of meat and wine during the nine days? 4) If a non-Jew poured this wine, does it become stam yainam? The ingredients seem to be water, pomegranates, sugar, yeast, pectic enzyme, and occasionally citric acid and/or barley. Thank you for your time.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question about pomegranate wine (which I was recently given a bottle of, and enjoyed greatly). 1) Yes, because the pomegranate wine is an important drink, which is not just drunk to quench one's thirst, but as a social drink, it is considered "chamar midina" (= a drink of the nation, which is important enough to be used for the daytime kiddush, or havdallah, when one has no wine available).[Shmirat Shabbat KeHilchatah, 53,9. See also Igrot Moshe O.H. 2, 75]. 2) This type of wine would not need the kashrut supervision needed for grape wines (which has many strictures due to the laws of non-Jewish handling of wine), but it would still need a hechser. The manufacturing processes today do not allow us to assume automatically that a product is kosher. Only after an on site inspection of the production techniques used could one ascertain the kashrut of the product. 3) During the times of year when wine is forbidden, such as the times of mourning leading up to the ninth of Av, only grape wine (and grape juice) is forbidden. Other drinks, even if they are alcoholic, are permitted. (Rema, Shulchan Aruch, 551,11). 4) The laws of non-Jews pouring wine only applies to grape wines, not those made of pomegranates. L'Chaim, D. Sperling.
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