Nysha Recent News

Upstate and Upscale, Acquiring a Taste for the Finer Things in Life


January 30, 2017        

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Hamaspik Discovers World of Wine at Kosher Vintner’s Tasting Room


The sylvan hills of rural Sullivan County are the perfect setting for a wine tasting room.


Not unlike the bucolic fields of California’s legendary wine country, the rustic landscape of upstate New York—home to the famous Finger Lakes, the Empire State’s own wine country—is the backdrop to a good few vintners, more than a few of them competitive.


And a good few of those kosher, too—and on January 19, Hamaspik visited one of them.


Comprising a full production facility, barrels and all, the complex also features the on-site and elegantly-appointed tasting room that is all but de rigueur at such facilities nowadays.


The wood-paneled wine-aficionado welcome room received a group of visitors as nuanced and individual as its contents: the gentlemen of Hamaspik of Orange County’s Day Habilitation (Day Hab) program.


Arriving at noon, the dozen-plus young men spent a good 45 minutes imbibing the basics of wine in every way but literally. 


Accompanied by Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) Yisroel Fulop, Yoel Jacobowitz, Mendel Klein, and Shea Teitelbaum, the young men and their support staff were veritably awed.


Asked what the group learned about wine that they didn’t previously know, Mr. Jacobowitz cites the sheer variety of vintage lining the walls.


Between spending some time scrutinizing the range of labels on display (with several gentlemen recognizing several favored by their own fathers back home) and taking in an informative mini-documentary on the winemaking process from vine to retailers’ shelves, the visitors discovered that the demanding connoisseur can shell out up to $250 for a wine aged up to 15 years before sale.


A friendly customer service staffer kindly fielded several questions and distributed informative winemaking brochures to the fascinated guests.  They even enjoyed some fine fruit of the vine—in the form of decidedly non-intoxicating grape juice.  (The winery prohibits the downing of alcoholic wine on the premises; Hamaspik prohibits on-the-job employees from drinking anything alcoholic anywhere.)


One newly-informed DSP seized the opportunity to go back to his own home not just knowing the finer points of wine, but with a newly-purchased bottle of New York Muscato with which to later taste those finer points.


But having expanded the palette of those he supports in terms of a broader taste for life and the better things thereof, that’s perhaps no surprise.