At the recently concluded 2012 vintage, the González Byass winery, manufacturer of popular Sherry brand ‘Tio Pepe', was visited by Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu and Rabbi Akiva Padwa of the London Beth Din who came to supervise the pressing of the grapes for a new batch of Tio Pepe Fino Sherry. The Tio Pepe Sherry is the only known Kosher Sherry in the whole world.
A team of Jewish supervisors from Gibraltar are overseeing the entire grape pressing process at the winery, based in Jerez, Spain, which is due to end in November with 22,000 litres of grape juice being used to make the Sherry which should last for the next 15 years.
The first kosher production of Tio Pepe took place at Gonzalez Byass in 1998. Producing a kosher wine or Sherry requires not only strict control of the ingredients and rabbinic supervision as with other kosher products, but hands on input throughout the manufacturing process. Any physical contact with or movement of the wine during the process must be performed by a shomer Shabbat Jew. Even sampling the grape juice or Sherry must be done by one of the Jewish team.
Tio Pepe has been bottling Sherry at González Byass for 15 years and the wine produced under kosher supervision bears the KLBD kosher logo.
Rabbi Conway, Director of the KLBD Kashrut division, remarked: “Producing a Kosher sherry is a complicated process due to the intensive Jewish input required over five years (the solera system) before any wine is bottled. In the first production in 1988 in which I was personally involved, we required a team of 15 people to operate the all the presses, pumps, filters, and other equipment as is required by Halacha! Fortunately in subsequent years, the process has been somewhat streamlined. Tio Pepe is the world’s bestselling brand and we are delighted to be able to offer such an exclusive product to the Jewish community.”
Currently Tio Pepe Sherry can be purchased from the following Kosher retailers:
7 Russell Parade, Golders Green Road, London, NW11 9NN
Tel. 020 8455 1429 http://www.kosherkingdom.co.uk/contact/
Kosherwine UK AKA The Grapevine:
90 Oldhill Street, London, NI6 6NA Tel 020 8880 8080
20 Bell lane, London, NW4 2AD Tel 020 8202 2631
15 Halleswelle Parade, Finchley Rd, London, NW11 0DL
Tel 020 8455 4336 http://www.freewebs.com/sussers/