Yossi Izakovitch is betting that he can convince ultra-Orthodox Jews that his Bordeaux-style blend is good enough to justify its $100 price tag — and its $93 price differential with Manischewitz. Since its first vintage in 2011, Izakovitch’s Jerusalem winery, Metzuda, has gone from selling 1,500 bottles to 25,000 bottles last year.
“Wine is not just food — it’s art,” Izakovitch told Vinepair. “I like to have a connection with the people who drink my wine and who understand what I’m trying to do.”
Izakovich is an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and markets his different varieties — among them a $25 bottle of Cabernet and a $50 bottle of Shiraz — to ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel and the U.S. He operates without a hechsher, or certification of kashrut, from Israel’s Orthodox Council of Jerusalem, an ultra-Orthodox communal organization. A stamp of approval from the OCJ would forbid Izakovitch from directly handling his barrels and tasting his wine without permission.
“I need to be able to touch my own barrels,” he said. “To make good wine, you have to have total control over the process.”