I unwittingly received wine from Israel that was produced during the shmitta year of 2008, and thus carries only the hashgacha of the local bet din rather than the OU symbol that it would typically have. I understand that the local hashgacha means that the procedures for bi’ur etc were carried out, and that the OU doesn’t not put its symbol on these bottles as a matter of policy. Nevertheless, should a person be machmir (stringent) and not drink them, or are they completely acceptable?
As shmitta wine, this wine should not have been sold for profit, unless the heter mechira is relied on. If the wine is from heter mechira, it should say so on the bottle. Wine that is not heter mechira should have the stamp of an Otzar Beit Din on it.
There is a dispute among authorities as to whether wine after the time of bi’ur becomes forbidden for comsumption with a Torah or Rabbinic prohibition (Rambam and Ramban, respectively), and concerning the halachah in cases of shogeg.
It is hard to believe that the hashgacha, which was stamped on the bottle at the time of production, ensures that the proper procedures for bi’ur were carried out. However, it is certainly possible that they were. Furthermore, if the wine remained with the Otzar Beit Din at the time of bi’ur, many maintain that no bi’ur is required.
Another question is how the bottle got to the US, though some are lenient for taking produce of shmitta out of Israel.
Out of doubt, and because shmitta today is rabbinic, it is permitted to drink the wine.
It must be treated in accordance with the laws of kedushas shvi’is.
Thank you for your thorough and coherent response. I would like to know more about what you mean by treating the wine “in accordance with the laws of kedushas shvi’is.”
Sorry to bother you again, but laws of kedushas shvi’is just means not to throw any of it away or is there more to it?
Kedushas Shevi’is implies that one mustn’t throw the wine away, one mustn’t make it spoil, including use in cooking, and one mustn’t take it out of Israel.
A followup to these questions — if shmittah wine was ruined, due to a storm or other natural occurrence, can one throw it out or must it be saved?
Once ruined, to the point that it is no longer fit for consumption, there is no problem in throwing out the wine.
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