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The Tastemakers
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The Tastemakers

A look at the judges for The Jewish Week’s Kosher Wine Tasting Contest.

SADIE R. FLATEMAN

Sadie Flateman is a former wine buyer at 67 Wine & Spirits on the Upper West Side, where her passion for wines from Israel began. Developing the store’s department of Israeli wine and as creator of an event, “The Israeli Wine Symposium,” Flateman is a close observer of the country’s emerging wine industry. She continues to stay immersed in the field, making research trips to Israel as a diploma student with the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust and as a private wine consultant based in New England.

ELIZABETH FREID

Elizabeth Freid’s passion for wine started when, as a curious consumer in 1999, she attended the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to increase her knowledge. After working with FunwithWine, an organization that held corporate and consumer wine tastings, in 2011 she started freelancing as a wine consultant and sales rep for The House of Burgundy, Inc., the highly acclaimed importer and distributor of boutique wines since 1934. She consistently goes to seminars and tastings and looks forward to experiencing the wineries in Israel this spring. Freid is also an independent wine consultant with Flow Wine Group and a participating wine judge for The Fifty Best. She is very honored and excited to now be a participating judge with The Jewish Week.

YOSSIE HORWITZ

Growing up in a tee-totaling household in Jerusalem  — “my father drank a shot of amaretto per year,” he recalls — Yossie Horwitz didn’t have much early exposure to wine. That all changed one Passover night when, at the tender age of 16, he tasted his first quality dry red wine in the form of a kosher Bordeaux that a family friend brought to the seder. A lifelong passion was stoked: Horwitz began attending wine tastings and winery tours around Israel, educating himself on what he liked. By the time he was 30 and had moved to New York City, he was penning a weekly email blast to family and friends in which he shared his favorite bottles. Today, “Yossie’s Corkboard” goes out to more than 11,000 subscribers around the world and covers the ever-expanding world of kosher wine; tasting more than 3,000 kosher wines each year keeps this deal-making attorney-by day quite busy. A founding judge on The Jewish Week’s panel, this is Horwitz’s 11th year tasting wines for the paper. Sign up at http://yossiescorkboard.com/ and follow on instagram at yossies_corkboard.

BROCK JANOFF

Brock Janoff is a 40-year wine industry veteran with extensive experience in sales, marketing and most recently wine education and appreciation. Janoff’s wine career began with the E. & J. Gallo Winery in California, which led to assignments in the New York area managing sales initiatives, marketing strategies and special projects. He has developed a broad knowledge and expertise in fine wine and over the years has participated in numerous educational programs, seminars and tastings. Janoff is currently an independent wine consultant, working with national wine marketers such as Flow Wine Group and others, and has developed strong relationships with numerous producers and importers. He continually works to advance his knowledge of kosher wine and has developed a sub-specialty in this exceptional category. He routinely works with major kosher wine producers and importers, and in the course of his work, Janoff has gained special knowledge and appreciation of kosher wines.

BERNARD KENNER

Bernard Kenner started his lifelong adventure with wine at the age of 18 when he bought a mixed case of wine to see what each bottle offered. He spent 33 years teaching high school sciences in New York City, traveling, tasting and learning when the opportunity allowed. After retiring from teaching, Kenner’s lifelong passion for food and wine evolved into a second career. What started out as an informal synagogue Passover tasting and wine sale more than 15 years ago has allowed him to make many contacts in the industry. Kenner is well known to many Hadassah groups on the South Shore of Long Island and is often referred to as the “wine guy.” He can customize events to meet the needs of the sponsor: wine dinners and focused tastings for organizations, tasting events, server training for increasing sales, food-focused wine list development and sommelier services as well as mystery dining reports are all available at reasonable cost. eatwine@verizon.net

GARY LANDSMAN

In 2006, Landsman decided to turn a love of wine into a career. He sublet his Manhattan apartment and traveled to Israel to apprentice at a small, but highly regarded winery. Following the harvest season in Israel, he returned stateside, but before returning to New York he spent five months working in the lab at Napa Wine Company, a large custom crush facility, in California’s Napa Valley. Since those early days Landsman has worked in the kosher wine world for the likes of Yarden, Carmel/Yatir, Capcanes and Herzog-owned Royal Wine Corp. In 2015 he launched Taste Wine Co., offering a vision for the future of wine retail. Now nearing the completion of its fifth year in business, Taste Wine operates as a traditional wine and spirits retailer based in the East Village. Landsman writes a weekly kosher email newsletter to his subscribers and loves selling wines that he enjoys drinking, specifically sparkling wine, riesling and Bordeaux. He received a Wine Sensory Analysis certification from Napa’s Culinary Institute of America as well as a certification with distinction from the world-renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

MIRIAM MORGENSTERN

Miriam Morgenstern is vice president and associate publisher of Wine Spectator magazine and M. Shanken Communications. She runs the integrated business and advertising marketing division for this renowned publication. Wine Spectator is a global epicurean brand with more than three million print readers and more than three million page views per month for its website, winespectator.com. Feature articles consistently educate readers about wine, travel, culture, fine dining and entertainment. Morgenstern has a passion for wine education and believes “wine is food.” She holds an advanced degree from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

ALISON NATHAN

Alison Nathan knows kosher food: Working alongside her husband, Jeff Nathan, at Abigael’s on Broadway, the nation’s largest kosher restaurant, she directs both guest services as well as promotions. Nathan’s interest in food blossomed at an early age: As a teenager, she made a habit of cooking dinner for her family, and eventually chose a professional track, graduating from the Johnson & Wales culinary school in Rhode Island. She then found work as a line cook at Soho’s New Deal Restaurant, where she met her husband and future business partner. After becoming a mother, Nathan transitioned to the “front of the house” at New Deal, and in her duties as the restaurant’s manager she expanded on the wine knowledge she had obtained in culinary school. Nathan is also a food writer and recipe developer. Even among all these achievements, “one of my career highlights,” she says, “is to be a part of The Jewish Week wine-judging panel,” she said. @chefjeffabg/ abigaels.com.

JAY SUSSMAN

Originally from St Louis, Sussman moved to New York in the 1980s to work in the financial industry. Due to the large need at that time to have one-on-one contacts with the customers, there was a need to spend many meals dining with the customers. Since the majority of those customers did not have any kosher requirements, Sussman found the need to seek the best in kosher dining, which also required the need to seek the best in kosher wines and spirits. The kosher wine selection in the U.S. did not start to mature until the late 1980s; before that only kosher wines from France had any strong potential and those had to be bought in France. In the late ’80s, some California kosher wines came on the scene. Due to their limited production and availability, Sussman started buying these and also collecting them. The selection continued to increase through the 1990s, and so did his collection and appreciation. Also, at this time Israeli wines started to mature and have impact. Sussman also started to build a hearty appreciation and collection of cigars, which was noted recently in Assouline’s publication of “The Impossible Collection of Cigars.” Sussman lives on the Upper West side with his wife Nomi. 

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