What is Wine that is “Mifustar”?


Q. I have recently seen the Hebrew word mifustar on some wines coming from Israel. Is that the same as mevushal which would permit an aino Yehudi to handle the wine?

A. “Mifustar” is the Hebrew word for pasteurization. Modern winemaking utilizes specialized techniques, such as flash pasteurization, to kill off bacteria and preserve the wines in a manner that only minimally affects the taste of the wine.

Some poskim have questioned whether this method of cooking the wine qualifies as mevushal, even when performed at boiling temperatures. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (Minchas Shlomo I:25) said that for a wine to be considered mevushal the cooking must cause a noticeable change in the taste, color or aroma of the wine. Therefore, some wineries choose to label their wines “mifustar” to alert those consumers that wish to be stringent and deal with these wines as non-mevushal.

However, the minhag in America, attributed to Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, is to consider all wines that were cooked above 175 F as mevushal, even if there is almost no change in taste.

The above is from today’s OU Kosher Halacha Yomis column, which is dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016).