Manhattan's Fine & Rare Vintage Kosher Auction Attracts Crowd

The inaugural event in Manhattan on Thursday launched a new tradition for those looking to obtain the best kosher wines in the world.

The inaugural "Fine & Rare Vintage" kosher wine auction, conducted by Kestenbaum & Company, drew more than 50 wine collectors, journalists, restaurateurs and bloggers to the Roger Smith Hotel in midtown Manhattan on Thursday.

Before the auction, which was held by co-collaborator Skyview Wines & Spirits (the largest retailer of kosher wines in North America) kicked off, guests enjoyed a kosher wine tasting. The highlight was a 1995 Herzog Wine Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet, with a youthful, violet color and red berry aromas and flavors, and concluded with a few words by Skyview's Gary Wartels about Israeli wine critic Daniel Rogov, who recently passed away. Rogov, he said, “deserves credit for putting Israeli and kosher wines on the map.”

Expectations were high when the auction began with four lots from the first kosher vintage of Israeli boutique darling, Domaine du Castel. While there was great interest, minimum reserve prices were not met on three of the four lots. Of the 120-plus lots for sale, some sold at a slight premium above their initial release prices. The trophies of the night were two double magnums of Yarden Katzrin, a 1990 and 1993, each selling for nearly $3,000.  

Overall, organizers were pleased with the event and have begun discussing a spring version, tentatively scheduled for March or April 2012. Wine consultant to Kestenbaum, Dan Rabinowitz, said of the auction, "We are very happy to have this first auction under our belts. Obviously we would have loved to have sold every single lot, but we understand that Rome wasn't built in a day, and based on the tremendous feedback we have already received and the emails from disappointed kosher wine lovers who couldn't be here tonight, we look forward to building on our initial success and improving upon the things we learned from this inaugural auction."

Gary Landsman, AKA the “Wine Tasting Guy”, makes, sells, writes about and of course tastes wine.  You can read more of his writing on his blog at or contact him with any wine related questions at

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