No offense to our friends over at Manischewitz! We love making charoset with it, but the concord grape, Kosher-for-Passover wine can be cloyingly sweet on its own. And when you're supposed to drink four cups of it during a seder (and probably many more throughout the rest of the week), that's a lot of sweetness.
Instead, Rabbi Josh Franklin of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts, suggests opening a bottle of something else. "Opt for one of the many popular Israeli wines that have been breaking into the market," he says.
Keep reading for his suggestions.
Kosher-for-Passover Wines You'll Actually Want to Drink
If you want to splurge
- Castel Grand Vin, from Castel
- Syrah Reserve, from Tulip Winery
- Merlot, from Flam
- Yatir Forest, from Yatir Winery
- C Blanc du Castel, from Castel
If you're willing to spend $20 to $30 a bottle
- Cliff View Carignan, from Beitel Winery
- Yiron, from Galil Mountain
- Ever Red, from Ella Valley Vineyards
- Yarden Katzrin Chardonnay, from Golan Wines
If you want a budget-friendly wine
Where can you find these wines?
Depending on where you live — or the size of the store — your local wine shop might have a limited selection. Or, take to the Internet and check out KosherWine.com, where you can order pretty much everything on this list and more. There's also SkyviewWine.com, which offers free shipping in New York City and ships elsewhere for a small fee.
Why do you need so much wine?
Think of the four cups of wine as Jewish punctuation marks throughout the Seder. Some people say they represent four important women in the Pesach story, while others say they represent four different elements of freedom.
Whatever they may represent, they are to be consumed slowly and while reclining, because Jews are free now and can drink with leisure. Sweet wine is traditional, but any wine or grape juice is acceptable — as long as it's marked as being Kosher for Passover, which means it's been made according to Jewish rabbinical law.
What makes a wine Kosher for Passover?
Most kosher wines are already approved for Passover, but check the label to be sure. In order for wine to be Kosher, it has to contain only kosher ingredients and, once the grapes are picked and brought to be crushed, only Shabbat-observant Jews can be involved in making the wine.
There's also Mevushal wine, which can be handled and served by non-Jews and is just heated up very quickly in a process called flash pasteurization. Mevushal wine is also acceptable for a Passover Seder.
Which is better — red or white wine?
Many Jews prefer to drink red wine during the Seder for several reasons, one being that it serves as a reminder of the lamb's blood that was smeared on the doorposts as a sign for God to pass over those homes in Israel. Of course, Passover is seven or eight days long (some reform Jews only celebrate for seven), so even if your family wants to stick to red for the Seders, there are still many other nights, during which you can enjoy a bottle of Kosher-for-Passover white.
What do you usually drink during Passover?