Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Blessing of the grapes with Jewish twist

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 at 1:53 pm in Uncategorized.

Ernie Weir Hagafen Cellars

Pardon me while I get all nerdy Jewish grrrl on ya’ll. It’s Rosh Hashana you see, and I need to do me some good deeds to get inscribed in the Book of Life before Yom Kippur, when I won’t put wine to my lips for 24 hours straight! I know, koo koo.

Anyhoo, the typical blessing of the grapes thingie that occurs during crush happens to coincide with Sukkot, the Jewish agricultural, or harvest, festival. It’s a time of great joy following the heaviness of Yom Kippur. To celebrate, two wineries in Napa are calling upon wine buff and Rabbi Oren Postrel of the Valley’s Congregation Beth Sholom to bless their grapes.

“We thought it would make sense to align the two calendars, of Mother Nature and Jewish history,” says Ernie Weir (pictured above), the founder and winemaker at Hagafen Cellars. Ernie’s a great guy. Looks like a grown up Vince Vaughn. He’s doing — been doing for a while, actually — his part to improve the quality of wine coming out of Israel too, as he consults with wineries in the Galilee and Golan Heights.

Several Napa wineries will be hosting Jewish blessing of the grapes ceremonies on Sunday, September 30. The day will begin at 11 a.m. at Judd’s Hill Winery (2332 Silverado Trail, Napa, 255-2332; drink Judd’s “Magic” while you’re there, it’s heavenly) followed by a blessing at noon at Hagafen Cellars (4160 Silverado Trail, Napa, 252-0781; ask about Ernie’s other line of easy-drinking wines, Don Ernesto).

It’s all free and open to the public with light grub, so stop by!

For other locations, check Beth Sholom’s web site.

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