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non-mevushal wine


Rabbi David Sperling

Tevet 14, 5775
I recently went touring with my step-brother, who is not Jewish, all around Israel. During our "tiyullim", we went to Tishbi winery in Zichron Yaakov for a wine and chocolate tasting. We explained "in Hebrew" to the girl working there that my step-brother isn’t Jewish and so she should pour all of the wine for us, since most of the wine there is not Mevushal. The "problem" occurred when my step-brother decided to buy a bottle and gave it to my Uncle as a gift when we went to his house for Shabbat dinner. I pointed out to my Uncle that the wine is not mevushal. My Uncle was under the impression that the wine is still fine for consumption because the bottle was corked and sealed. I thought that I remembered learning in Yeshiva that this could still be an issue. I highly doubt that my step-brother had any intention of using the wine for avodah zara purposes, however he does wear a certain avoda zaradig necklace, and I’m not exactly sure what his beliefs are since his mother was a buddhist and did worship idols. My first question is, is the wine okay for consumption even though it was handled by a non-jew and was not mevushal, because it was still corked and sealed? Or am I correct in thinking that there still might be some issue since the bottle was handled by a suspected idol worshipper and it was never made mevushal before being corked and sealed? My second question is, and please excuse my ignorance on the subject, if the bottle of wine in question IS an issue, and my Uncle is incorrect in his assumption that the wine is fine to drink because he is relying on the fact that the bottle is corked and sealed, even though it’s not mevushal, should I now avoid drinking wine at my Uncle’s house altogether?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Your uncle is correct on this issue – if a bottle of wine is closed then the fact that a non-Jew carried it does not make the wine forbidden (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 125,9). L'Haim!
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