I placed myself in an interesting dilemma on Shabbos. For kiddush, we had on our table our regular red wine, which had already been poured partially into the kiddush cup, and white wine our guests had brought before Shabbos. The white wine was slightly better so perhaps it should have been used for kiddush. However, the red wine was red, which is preferable (see Mishnah Berurah 272:10,12), and had already been partially poured so I decided to say kiddush on the red wine.
After kiddush I poured myself some white wine and was suddenly unsure whether to recite the blessing “ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv.” The Gemara (Berakhos 59b) states (Koren tr.): “Although [the Sages] said that [in the case of] a change [in the type of] wine one need not recite a [second] blessing [over the wine], he does recite: Blessed… Who is good and does good (ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv).” On your first wine, you recite borei peri ha-gafen. On your second wine (and all subsequent), if it is better than the prior you recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv (if you are drinking with at least one other person from the same bottle and the original bottle still has some left).
However, what if that second wine was on the table when you said borei peri ha-gafen? Does that original blessing apply to the second wine also, removing the need for ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv? There are three views in the posekim about this:
- The Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 175:3) quotes the Mordekhai that if you have two types of wine on the table, you must recite borei peri ha-gafen on the better wine. And therefore you need not recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv. However, earlier (ibid., par. 1), the Shulchan Arukh states that even if you have two types of wine before you from, you recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on the second wine. While the Rema has a different understanding, the Magen Avraham (ad loc., 2) explains that if you incorrectly recite borei peri ha-gafen on the lesser wine, you then recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on the second wine. The Arukh Ha-Shulchan (ad loc., 6) suggests that when two wines are different but equally good, you recite borei peri ha-gafen on one and ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on the other.
- The Taz (ad loc., 4) disagrees with the Shulchan Arukh and says that if you have two types of wine on your table, you should recite borei peri ha-gafen on the lesser wine so you can then say ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on the better wine.
- The Divrei Chamudos (Berakhos, ch. 9 no. 47) rules that as long as you have the second wine prepared for drinking when saying borei peri ha-gafen on the first wine, you do not say ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on the second wine. Even if the second wine is outside the room, you still don’t recite the additional blessing.
The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc., 5, 14) rules like the first approach: you should recite borei peri ha-gafen on the best wine on the table but if you didn’t, you recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on better wines even if they were already on the table. (In the prior note, Mishnah Berurah quotes the view of the Divrei Chamudos but does not conclude like him. See R. Chaim Kanievsky’s Shoneh Halakhos 175:1.)
The Kaf Ha-Chaim (ad loc., 9) follows the third approach: you should not recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv if you had prepared the better for drinking, even if it wasn’t on the table.
Piskei Teshuvos (175:1), based on Minchas Yitzchak (9:14), explains the common practice to never recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv. If you piece together all the strict opinions, you will almost never find a situation in which you may recite the blessing. However, he concludes, those who say the blessing have authorities on whom to rely. I found this surprising because, in my experience, people say this blessing on new, better wine.
In my situation, R. Mordechai Eliyahu (Responsa Ma’amar Mordekhai, vol. 3 no. 13) follows Kaf Ha-Chaim and would not approve reciting the blessing. R. Eliezer Melamed (Peninei Halakhah, Berakhos 7:7-8) dismisses the strict opinions because most authorities rules in practice to recite the blessing. Therefore, since he follows the Mishnah Berurah, he would suggest that I recite ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv on the better white wine. And that is what I did.