Inside the Glass:

By: Yitzy Fried

As we approach Pesach, wine is foremost in many people’s mind—and Yehoshua Werth is a name that is synonymous with wine. He arrived at his perch at the Grapevine in Wesley Hills, all the way from the hills of the West Coast, so famous for its grape growing. 

We spoke with Yehoshua who recalled his fascinating journey getting here, his early wine influences, and his deep passion for this ancient beverage and its secrets. 

He was born in Fresno, California, where he would go on to produce 400 events in the music and poetry world—some of which brought together 8,000 people. But his uncle owned a wine store, “and that meant that I got to taste some of the best wines in the world even before my Bar Mitzvah. My uncle had a really great palate (he was an analytical scientist), and he would fly in some of the most expensive bottles on the planet... and we’d drink them.” 

“Some of these bottles even became kosher years later, “ he says. 

Yehoshua—ever a seeker in search of an experience—discovered Hashem along his journey. 

Today, he is perhaps the most famous kosher sommelier on the East Coast—holding events and tastings and classes in five different states—a vocation that brings together many qualities, and he credits a number of important influences in his life for course it has taken—all orchestrated by Hashem, of course. 

“From my father I inherited the mechanical side, from my mother I got the spiritual side, and my uncle imbued me with a love for scientific and analytical things.” He utilizes all of these qualities in his daily work, and in his decades of involvement with music. 

He has been at the Grapevine in Monsey for a number of years now. 

“What brings me to work every day is this platform to share Torah and spirituality (Torah sessions with customers, Torah conversations surrounding wine (sacrificing on the mizbei’ach, mevushal vs. non-mevushal, the ancient wine-growing regions of Eretz Yisroel)—and guiding people toward things they will love,” he says. 

“Whether it was those enormous events, or the Long Island Kosher Wine Expo, or the wine tasting at the Grapevine… what motivates me in all of it is the energy of seeing people smiling, as they come together to experience something that they have never experienced in that way,” Werth says. 

Yehoshua has written for some of the most important music magazines in the country, and he sees many parallels between music and wine. “When I write about a band, I want to make the reader experience what type of musician I’m writing about, what he’s all about it. And the same goes for wine; I want to help you experience it’s nuances and complexities.” 

He lists off some of the $1000+ bottles that are on the kosher wine market today, proud of how far the industry has come since the first respectable kosher reserve wine was produced in 1976. 

There are also too many favorite grape growing regions for him to choose from. 

So, Yehoshua is deeply passionate and excited about the kosher wine market today—and he  wants everyone to enjoy it in some way. “Wine is much more than a Cabernet or a Moscato: it’s an experience. Look at the wine, smell the wine, swoosh it around and let it sit in your mouth, as you close your eyes and reflect on its layers of flavor,” he says. 

“Wine has been such a great part of our heritage, throughout the centuries. This Yom Tov—and throughout the year—make sure your wine looks good, smells good, and tastes good. L’chaim!” 

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