Hip, edgy, and the only of its kind on the shelves, Ralph’s company L’Chaim Kosher Wine is definitely not your Bubby’s wine, but it’s certainly worthy of her table.
Phrases like that—and “Kosher, Even if You’re Not” have become marketing slogans launched by the international wine house to promote its products beyond the old-school styles of past. Take a guerrilla marketing campaign, mixed with kosher certification from the Orthodox Union, and you have a business-savvy success story.
Ralph Mizraji, a Miami-based entrepreneur looking to grow his small boxed wine company, knew there was tremendous potential for sales within the Jewish community, as boxed wine was an untapped market—but wasn’t sure where to begin.
Ralph made two smart choices.
First, he partnered with Enovation Brands, Inc. the U.S. importer for Enoitalia SpA, Italy’s largest volume wine house known for its product quality and creative marketing. Ralph didn’t want to sell any product less than premium. Enoitalia had to know-how to help develop the product and the street cred of thinking outside of the box.
Second, together with his new partners at Enovation Brands, Ralph knew to turn to the Orthodox Union for the world’s most recognized and esteemed kosher certification, joining ranks of OU Kosher’s 914,722 products (and growing).
“We recognized the OU as the ultimate certification, and that the standards are a bit more rigorous, but what better quality than going with the organization that has the most rigorous standards?” emphasized Ralph. “The best sticks together.”
In fact, To Life Kosher Wine Box and its sister product L’Chaim Vodka, are OU Kosher for Passover year round. With diligent research, the international influence the OU Kosher seal captured Enoitalia’s attention to extend the VOGA Italia product line to include a Sparkling wine abiding by the certifications highest standards.
Earlier this fall, Lisa Schuster found her attention directed to an NPR segment on Jewish millennials (those born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s). As Marketing Director of Enovation Brands, Lisa was pleased to learn there was a market of 12 million kosher consumers in the United States, despite its significantly smaller Jewish count—and even among those consumers abiding by kosher standards for religious purposes.
Learning this, Lisa turned to her colleagues at Enovation, eager to bring Ralph Mizraji’s quality products to a booming market that still lacked his niche boxed wine.
According to Lisa, “We focus on the millennial consumer because millennials—more than any other category—are turning wine upside down. Unlike their baby boomer parents, they don’t pay attention to traditional reviews. They want what they want, they like what they like; they like unique packaging, and to experience things on their own. If a friend said ‘I drank Voga Italia yesterday and it was fantastic,’ that’s enough for them to go out and buy a bottle—so we aim for this young consumer who really is driving growth today.”
Understanding that Italian wines are the #1 imported wines in the United States, Enovation Brands/Enoitalia understood a smaller, more personalized marketing would be needed to connect this an expanded target audience. “We wanted to go edgier, younger than Mogen David. The millennial kosher consumer are keeping kosher when parents aren’t because there’s a whole thing of local, organic, ‘what’s in my food?’ sustainability, etc.,” noted Lisa. “There is a huge push by consumers to know what’s in their food and the kosher certification gives them that peace of mind. Everything is accounted for.”
And beyond food packaging, this carries over into the restaurant business. This group is taking the concept and driving it over into the non-Jewish audience. This group is effecting change.
“Once a bottle of wine is opened and exposed to oxidation, its quality and freshness clock begins to tick,” noted Rabbi Nahum Rabinowitz, who directed the OU certification process. “Bag in box wine—such is what To Life wine offers—doesn’t allow air in even as the wine is pumped out, the quality of the wine is maintained much longer.”
How much longer? Opened boxes of wine are good for about a month.
Rabbi Menachim Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, sees boxed wine as an exciting opportunity for kosher wine. “These OU-certified Italian wines are sure to make waves in the kosher market,” he said. “All processing was handled directly by OU supervisors to meet the highest standards of kosher.”
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.