Sometimes Steve (my hubby) and I get tired of wine. I know that sounds like such a cliché, but it happens. There are times where we indulge in cocktails, but lately, we have been trying out non-grape wines from the Morad winery in Israel. Morad is unique since they take all sorts of fruits or sometimes other drinks like coffee and turn them into wines via fermentation. Their offerings started off slowly with the flagship Pomegranate wine. Still, they rapidly expanded to include passion fruit, coffee, lychee, grapefruit, etrog, honey, chocolate, almond, orange, and apricot, to name a few. The best thing about these wines is that they don’t spoil as quickly as regular wines, so you can sip and enjoy them over the course of a week or more.
We first tasted the lychee wine, which I think is my top choice besides the passion fruit wine. They were delicious chilled with dessert, but also on dessert. We poured some over some gooey fudge brownies during Succot, and it really hit the spot. My daughter is quite the mixologist, and she was very excited to spice up these wines. She used the Wild Berry wines in a ‘hot toddy’ with some whiskey, cinnamon sticks, freshly ground cardamom, and some warm water. Wow, did that hit the spot on the chilly evenings we have been getting accustomed to again.
I decided to learn more about these wines as we drank through the selection we picked up at our local shop. The owners are named Ellen and Gershon Bodner, whose family comes from Poland and were in the barrel-making business (Bodner means barrel maker in polish). Gershon’s family made Aliya to Israel as pioneers, and like many new Olim got into the agricultural industry. His wife Ellen takes all the credit for his interest in wine, and around 15 years ago, they visited Morad, a fruit winery. After tasting through Yaakov Morad’s (the winemaker) wines, Gershon was so intrigued; he decided to buy the winery and start exporting the products around the world. They currently split their time between America and Israel.
The process of making fruit wines takes about a year, from the beginning of fermentation to bottling. Each bottle should last around five years if stored properly out of heat and sunlight. While it is difficult to market regular wines, since it is a niche product and a very specific market, I would guess it is even harder to market fruit wines. Morad exports a small portion of their production and hopes to expand to dryer versions of their sweet wines in the future. With new labels, new attitude and ideas, we look forward to try some new flavors and variations of these wines soon. Check them out too! Cheers!
Sharon Spielman is a wine enthusiast who is passionate about Israeli wine. She can be contacted for feedback and advice at firstname.lastname@example.org