Making Kosher Wine On His Own

Benyamin Cantz runs a tiny kosher winery on three acres in the mountains outside Santa Cruz.

On a remote hilltop in the Santa Cruz mountains, Benyamin Cantz runs what is likely the smallest kosher vineyard in the country. A graduate of nearby UC Santa Cruz, Cantz came here in the 1960s and today runs the entire three-acre operation virtually alone. Because kosher wine must be produced by a Sabbath-observant Jew, and because Cantz was practically the only Sabbath-observant person in the area for years, he designed his operation so he could run it by himself, doing all the bottling, labeling and shipping by hand. Today, his small-batch certified organic wine is available only by mail order and sells out hundreds of cases every year within weeks.

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