When Curt Friehs and Cynthia Craig raise a glass, they feel closer to God.
In April, the friends opened Chosen Wine, a sacramental vino shop at 1517 Potomac Ave. in Dormont, to share their love of the sacred beverage. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
While you might find a few dusty bottles of Manischewitz at the local liquor store, the new spot will boast a wide selection of organically made, ethically sourced, kosher wines from around the world. Red and white, dry and sweet, all varietals will be represented.
“The grapes are the same, it’s just that this wine is held to a higher standard of quality under religious supervision,” Friehs says.
Empty bottles representing the proprietors’ favorite libations line the window stills. They’re produced by Israeli wineries such as Dalton, Black Tulip and Psagot, and Pavillon de la Rotonde in Bordeux, France.
Chosen Wine also will sell religious items, including books, candles and Tibetan singing bowls. Once Covid restrictions are lifted, customers can partake in tastings and educational events.
Both Friehs and Craig, who met while working as librarians at Wichita State University in Kansas, took an interest in altar wine after spiritual awakenings. They wanted a better understanding of what was going in their bodies as they were raising their spirits.
Craig, who grew up Presbyterian in Ohio, accompanied Friehs on a trip to Israel and was so moved by the experience, she embraced Jewish life and goes to synagogue. The rituals, as well as the daily celebrations, included wine. As she did more research on the subject of sacramental wine, she knew she wanted to share the information with others.
Craig and Friehs decided to pour their collective passion into Chosen Wine.