Young Jewish Torontonians made their way in droves to the picturesque Distillery District earlier this month for the first-ever kosher wine-tasting festival put on by the Jewish Urban Meeting Place (JUMP).
The fundraiser for the nonprofit, which provides programming for young Jewish professionals, featured more than a dozen kosher wines from around the world.
“We wanted to do something different, that hadn’t been done before,” said Lexi Mitz, one of the event’s co-chairs, along with Adir Koschitzky, Yonah Krakowsky, Debbie Osiel and Isaac Apter.
Mitz said the evening of wine tasting, live jazz music and hors d’oeuvres, held at the trendy Arta Gallery, was designed to let people have fun in a chic setting while learning about what the kosher wine world has to offer and “what kosher life is all about.”
She added that many people don’t know about the great variety and quality of kosher wines.
Although kosher wine tastings often feature exclusively Israeli wines, JUMP offered guests a wider variety of reds and whites to choose from.
Alana Kayfetz, JUMP’s director of strategic development, modelled the festival on one held in Jerusalem that features kosher wines from around the world.
“We said, ‘Wait a minute, we could totally make this happen [here],’” Kayfetz said of planning the event with her team of volunteers.
The evening raised money for JUMP, and guests had the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a free trip to Israel.
“This is a combination of people who are interested in supporting JUMP and who are interested in wine from around the world,” said Mitz of the crowd of about 250 people who attended the event.
After an evening of wine tasting themselves, the organizers selected wines from a dozen kosher wineries from Italy, Australia, Israel, Canada and the United States. The JUMP Wine Festival featured everything from dry red and white wines to sparkling wine and even blueberry wine.
The wines were set up at pouring stations around the gallery. For guests who were new to wine tasting, cards were available with information about what to look for in a wine, explaining the importance of things such as aroma, colour, acidity and sweetness.
JUMP also brought in professional wine experts who were able to advise tasters about the different bottles.
Mitz said that this “one-on-one” experience with the wine experts helped people learn useful information about the wines they were drinking.
The packed gallery of wine tasters enjoyed the music, food and drinks late into the night, and although much of downtown Toronto experienced power outages that evening, the lights at the Arta Gallery stayed on all night.