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Homemade wine: teruma and ma’aser

Question

This year I prepared wine from grapes harvested after Sukkot. Ma’aser was not taken from these grapes, and I was told that I should set aside the ma’aser only after I finish making the wine. When is it considered the end of the wine-making process? Can I put off taking ma’aser until the wine is completely ready, after I transfer it into little bottles? Or can I only take the ma’aser when the wine is all together in the big bottle? Is there a different text for taking ma’aser on wine? I obviously can’t say “at the north” or “south” of the fruit.

Answer

Rabbi Ehud Ahituv

1. The wine-making process is completed upon straining it. If you are used to straining the wine only after transferring it into bottles, the obligation to take teruma and ma’aser will come into play only after the wine is bottled. If you strain the wine beforehand, then this obligation will start when the wine is still in the big bottle.

2. The special emphasis when taking teruma and ma’aser on wine is that at the time of the separation, you also keep in mind the tevel wine that was absorbed into the vessels due to its extended storage there.

3. In the texts of taking teruma and ma’aser cited by the poskim, the location of the ma’aser is not cited as “in the north” or “south” of the fruit. In practice, the way we take ma’aser today one can state the location as “למעלה”,“למטה”—“on the top,” “on the bottom,” as it appears in the text published by the Torah VeHa’aretz Institute. At the time of separation, you should make sure the bottles are placed on a stable surface, so the wine does not move.