Royal Wine Corp.: More than 100 Years of Wine Expertise

Established in 1848, the Herzog family winery was prosperous, even supplying the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph, with quality wine. During World War II, however, the Herzog family was forced into hiding, and their small Czechoslovakia-based family winery was given to the hands of a Christian sympathizer. Throughout the war, the Herzog family survived on smuggled profits; when the war abated, Eugene Herzog and his family fled to New York City.

Eugene found a job at Royal Wine Corp. (RWC) in New York City, working as a truck driver, winemaker and salesman with most of his salary taking the form of company stock. By the late 1950s, Eugene was the majority stockholder, and he and his four sons incorporated the business under the name Kedem.

The Tradition Continues

Today, the Herzog family is still at the helm of the company, with David Herzog, CEO of RWC, leading the operation. David’s son and nephew, Mordy Herzog, executive vice president of RWC, and Nathan Herzog, executive vice president of sales for RWC, respectively, are proud to assist in continuing the family legacy. “I’ve been with the family business since I was 21 years old,” Nathan says. “I started fresh out of college, and I’ve been with the company ever since.”

Even as the Herzog family fulfills its aspirations, they set new goals. It is because of this that the family has been able to achieve so much. “For instance, launching RWC’s flagship brand Baron Herzog in 1985, and also, in 2005, building a state-of-the-art winery in Oxnard, Calif.,” says Nathan. The winery, Herzog Wine Cellars, consistently produces award-winning wine from all the major wine growing regions of California, and is home to the award-winning restaurant Tierra Sur.

These achievements have enabled the Herzogs to expand and diversify, offering both traditional sacramental wines and some of the finest premium wines from around the world. “We have become the leading supplier of kosher wines in the world,” says Nathan. “We were the first to introduce a dry kosher Bordeaux, and we were ahead of the curve on the moscato trend; moscato is one of the hottest varietals out right now. We also pioneered the semi-sweet/semi-dry category. Most decent wine shops have a kosher section, and we dominate it.”

A Variety of Varietals

It is evident that RWC produces a massive spread of wines, from dry reds to sweet whites and everything in between. “Our Herzog Reserves are one great success story,” Nathan details. “They would blow the mind of any connoisseur. Another one of our wines, Bartenura Moscato, is the No. 1 selling Italian-imported moscato, kosher or not. It has earned the Impact Hot Brand Award in Market Watch.”

RWC also produces Jeunesse, a line of semi-sweet red wines. The Jeunesse line was launched in 2005 and is gaining ground in the market, promising to add another success story to the family’s list.

The company produces wine in 13 countries and exports to 30. In the United States, consumers and connoisseurs can find RWC’s specialty wines in all 50 states. The family also has several agreements with vineyards in Bordeaux to produce kosher wines for RWC’s labels.

Of course, the team’s international presence offers benefits and challenges alike. “We have wines from all over the world and we’re quite diversified,” Nathan elaborates. “French and Australian wines are slowing down, but it’s not an issue because we can revamp production with other wines. We listen to the market and adapt. A fairly new chapter for us is Israel. The country has more than 250 wineries, and many have achieved ratings in the ‘90s from wine critic Robert Parker. As the largest importers of Israeli wine, we want to develop a section in the grocery store for wine from Israel. We import the three big wineries there and we represent over 20 boutique wines, including Castel, Psagot and Yatir.”

Organic Growth

The team’s continued growth stems from the Herzog family’s continued dedication to quality and variety, as RWC’s Israeli wine selections have been a major hit with customers. Above all, Nathan takes special care personally to connect with suppliers. “We have worked with some of these partners for over 30 years,” he explains. “I try to meet with all of them twice per year. Our relationships with them maintain integrity, quality and price and we are able to rest easy knowing that these companies produce good, kosher foods and ingredients for us. We work with Rabbis internationally to promote best practices.”

However, according to Nathan, the true joy comes from sharing everything his family has worked so hard to build. “I love meeting people whose only frame of reference for kosher wine is traditional sweet concord wine,” says Nathan. “Seeing their face light up, getting that reaction, that ‘Wow, I didn’t know kosher wine could taste like this,’ is amazing.”

Because Nathan and the Herzogs enjoy spreading such joy, RWC goes a step above. “Our annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience [KFWE] held in New York City,” says Nathan. “There are similar events held in Los Angeles and London, but it is the largest food and wine event catering specifically to the kosher consumer in the world. Every year the show gets bigger. This year we showcased over 300 different wines and attendance topped 2,500 people.”

RWC offers an inspiring family history. However, it is not merely a history; the legacy continues on as the Herzog family seeks to improve kosher wine selections every day. Nathan and his family members continually promote quality kosher food and wine that not only fulfills cultural dietary standards, but appeals to a broad audience. Royal Wine Corp. is a true landmark in the world of winemaking, offering diverse products and unmatched devotion to customers and tradition.

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