Kosher wine in medieval provence and Languedoc – Production and commerce

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Abstract

Responsa literature from southern France provides detailed information about the production of and commerce in kosher wine. Because the cases in medieval rabbinic sources were recorded for their legal significance rather than their economic importance, they can shed light on aspects of medieval life that escape the reach of historians working with notarial or municipal documents. For example, piquette (pressed grapes mixed with water) was considered a low quality beverage, and is not mentioned in commercial records from the Middle Ages as much as wine is. However, Provençal rabbis devoted many discussions to the status of piquette in Jewish law. The responsa preserve detailed information about the ways in which kosher wine was produced on a commercial scale, and how it was marketed to kosher consumers in local and international markets. Read critically, these sources also demonstrate that the Jewish laity in medieval Provence and Languedoc were more conscientious in upholding the laws of kosher wine than is often assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-78
Number of pages20
JournalRevue des Études Juives
Volume178
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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