We at House Chai have overthrown the tyrrany of the kosher grape. We now accept any grape product in the house, so long as it is not mixed with some other factor that makes it non-kosher. We will no longer be stocking kosher balsamic vinegar or kosher wine, so if these things are important to you and you still want to eat in our house, please bring them with you. If this makes you incapable of eating in our house, please say so. We will not change this decision for your sake, but it would be good to know, nonetheless.
Why? For many reasons. The fact that kosher wine was used in an insulting manner during our conversions (even by my rabbi!) plays a big part. The Conservative movement's official ruling regarding wine is that US-produced wine is assumed kosher unless found guilty. AB and his actions have their roles in this decision, as well. In general, our friend cellio
's standard seems sound and fair to us -- grape products will be contemplated further if we're ever offered homemade grape product produced by a pagan, which could conceivably have been used in sacrifice to other gods. Other than that and grape mixed with pork juice, we're fine.
(This has the added benefit of allowing any of our friends to bring wine to dinner without worrying about it, which was not the case previously. Never mind the fact that all the good wine isn't kosher.)
Other items from the outside allowed in our house: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, beverages that don't include bugs (red coloring is actually a problem in some drinks, yanno), and things made in a kosher kitchen (which includes food available in the grocery store that has a heksher on it). We are still figuring out where we stand on the cheese issue, and have taken to making cheese in the house whenever convenient. Kosher-certified cheese is not, generally speaking, very appetizing.
Things we are still quite firm about: only kosher meat shall be cooked in the kitchen or touch the dishes. Meat and dairy will still be entirely separate in our kitchen (despite the fact that we have two sets of glass dishware). When in doubt, having a heksher likely makes things acceptable for use. But when in doubt, please let us know so we can address it.