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Making Wine at the End of the World

When there is very little between you and the Antarctic, making wine is a challenge.

When there are relatively few Jews, making kosher wine is a bit more of a challenge. When those Jews come from a mishmash of backgrounds including Portuguese, Dutch, English and Lithuanian, the wines must be able to appeal to a wide range of palates and plates.

Never say South Africans don’t like a challenge.

“The owners are doing this out of a sense of service to the Jewish community, a sense of duty,” said Jean van Rooyen, 46, the winemaker for Kleine Draken , South Africa’s only all-kosher winery. Mendal Kaplan, who owned a steel company, bought the vineyards that were to become Kleine Draken in 1983 as a service to the Jewish community. His brother, Robert, and another director at the company, Nathan Friedman, took on the job of overseeing the winery. The aim remains to produce kosher wine at a reasonable price. At the time, all kosher wine was. At the time, all kosher wine was imported — and it was expensive.


read more on forward.com