Halacha Date: 4 Tevet 5779 December 12 2018
In the previous Halacha we have discussed the law that if several individuals are drinking wine and are then served another kind of wine, the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is recited on the second kind of wine. We have mentioned that there are several conditions that must be met in order to recite this blessing. Only when all of these conditions are met may one recite this blessing, as we have explained. Let us now continue listing the conditions.
The “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing may only be recited if there was no interruption or change of intention before the drinking of the second type of wine, i.e. when those seated began drinking the first type of wine, they had intended to continue drinking wine. However, if they have decided not to drink any more wine, for instance, if they drank wine during the meal and have since recited Birkat Hamazon and are only then served another wine, the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is not recited on the second type of wine.
If Some of the first Wine Remains
The “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is only recited if some of the first wine remains. However, if nothing remains of the original kind of wine, this blessing is not recited.
The Second Wine cannot be Worse than the First
The “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is only recited when the second type of wine is of better quality than the first. If this cannot be ascertained, one must at least be certain that the second kind of wine is not of lesser quality than the first.
The Wines must be of Two Different Kinds
The “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is only recited when the second wine is of a different variety, such as, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, and the like. (Nevertheless, there is a situation where one can recite the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing on the same variety of wine which is, if the first wine is new and the second is aged, even if they are of the same variety, such as Cabernet, one may still recite this blessing. Similarly, one may recite the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing even on two wines of the same kind if they are from two different wineries or vineyards and they taste different from one another.)
At Least Two People Must be Present
The “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing may only be recited if a minimum of two individuals are sitting down to drink wine together. They must likewise both drink from both the first wine and then the second.
The Wine Must be Drunk During the Meal
The “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is only recited on wine drunk during a bread meal. This blessing is not recited, however, on wine drunk outside of a bread meal.
The vast details of the laws of this blessing are discussed at length in the Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 9, Chapter 108, in Chazon Ovadia-Berachot, and in Sefer Halacha Berura, Volume 9, Chapter 175.