Is pasteurized wine considered Mevushal

Is pasteurized wine considered cooked?[1]

In order for wine to become “protected” from becoming Yayin Nesech due to touch of a gentile, it must be Mevushal/cooked.[2] The definition of cooked is that the wine has been heated over a fire[3] to the point that it diminished its quantity [i.e. evaporated] due to the heat.[4] All wine today is pasteurized [Mefustar] to a certain degree in order to kill bacteria and lengthen the shelf life. There is a dispute amongst today’s Poskim if the heat level used for pasteurization considers the wine as Mevushal or not. Some Poskim[5] rule pasteurization of 140[6]/165[7]/170[8]/175[9] degrees is considered Mevushal. Other Poskim[10] hold it must be heated to 194 degrees during pasteurization. Other Poskim[11] rule that regular pasteurization is not considered Mevushal at all, as the wine must be brought to an absolute boil to be considered Mevushal.[12] Practically, many are accustomed to be lenient regarding pasteurization, to consider it Mevushal.[13] [It must be noted that not all wine is pasteurized to the degree that is considered Mevushal even according to the lenient opinion.[14] For this reason some Kashrus organizations require that the bottle must say “Mevushal through pasteurization” to be considered Mevushal even according to the lenient opinion. If it just says pasteurized it does not suffice.]

The Chabad custom: There is a misconception amongst some people who think that according to Chabad ruling and custom, pasteurized wine is not considered Mevushal. In truth, there is no set Chabad custom regarding the Mevushal status of pasteurization and each person is to follow his Rav.[15] There is no known source of the Alter Rebbe regarding this issue.[16]

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[1] Hakashrus 19/61

What is pasteurization? Pasteurization is a process invented by French scientist Louis Pasteur during the nineteenth century to kill the bacteria that is in beverages that cause spoilage, preventing these beverages from turning sour. The degree necessary for pasteurization varies in wineries. One can use as little as 140 degrees to achieve pasteurization. Others use Flash pasteurization of 162 degrees, others use boiling point, 212 degrees, known as HHST pasteurization. The degrees of heat used for pasteurization will determine whether it is considered Mevushal according to Halacha.

[2] Michaber Y.D. 123/3; Avoda Zara 30

[3] Michaber ibid

[4] Shach 123/7; Ran; Rashba

[5] Minchas Yitzchak 7/61; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2/52; 3/31 “Suffices if it is Yad Soledes and possibly even less” [In different Teshuvos of Rav Moshe, Yad Soledes varies [Lechumra] from 160-175 degrees]; Yabia Omer 8/15; See Shevet Halevi 2/51 “so long as the taste or smell or color changes, it suffices”

[6] Minchas Yitzchak ibid

[7] Igros Moshe O.C. 4/74; Y.D. 3/31

[8] Igros Moshe Y. D. 1/60

[9] Igros Moshe 2/52

[10] Tzelihemer Rav [Rav Levi Yitzchak Greenwald] of New York

[11] Rav SZ”A in Minchas Shlomo 1/25; Or Letziyon 2/20; Rav Elyashiv in Kovetz Teshuvos

[12] The reason: As today it has become the custom to pasteurize all wine, and hence it once again is included within the decree of the sages. [ibid]

[13] Rav Ginzberg in Hiskashrus

[14] Some pasteurize to less than 140 degrees which even according to Rav Moshe/Minchas Yitzchak may not be allowed.

[15] Rabbanim in next footnote told me they never heard of any Chabad custom in this regard

[16] Many Rabbanim that I have asked, who are expert in the Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe stated to me they have never seen or heard of any source from the Alter Rebbe in this regard. [Rav Ginzberg of Omer [author of Hiskashrus], Rav Berel Levin [Rebbe’s librarian, and author of the new Shulchan Aruch Harav; Harav Ashel Lemel Hakohen of Beitar] The section of Yayin Nesech, under which this question relates, is not even found in the Alter Rebbe, and the entire concept of pasteurization was only introduced several years after the passing of the Alter Rebbe. To also note that the wine under Beis Din Rabbanei Chabad of Eretz Yisrael is pasteurized and not fully Mevushal.

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