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These wines are great for Passover and beyond.

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A selection of 4 kosher wines
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

With Passover approaching, kosher wines are top of mind for Seders, as well as everyday drinking. Kosher wine has been around for centuries, and refers to a technique rather than a specific type of wine. Kosher wines range from crushable everyday drinkers to exclusive vintages for special occasions and everything in between. To clarify, there is a difference between kosher and what is considered kosher for Passover. During Passover, foods that are leavened (wheat, rye, oats, etc.) are excluded. What that means for wine is that the yeast used for wine cannot be fermented on leavened foods like bread; this also means the use of most common preservatives is prohibited.

To learn more about this tradition of winemaking, we spoke with experts Jay Buchsbaum, executive V.P. of marketing and director of wine education at Royal Wine Corporation, and Yiftach Peretz, chief winemaker at Carmel Winery, which is the largest and oldest wine company in Israel. 

What Is Kosher Wine? 

"The simple explanation is from the crushing of the grape until the bottle is sealed the entire process must be handled by a Sabbath-observant Jew. Other than the handling, kosher wines are made in the exact same way as non-kosher wines," says Buchsbaum. Peretz echoed this and added, "Kosher raw materials and auxiliary materials are used: yeast, barrels, etc., which should be kosher Le Mehadrin and for Passover."  (Mehadrin is the strictest level of kosher certification.)

Kosher wines have been around since ancient times and have been evolving in the modern age of winemaking. "People should judge them like any other wine," says Buchsbaum, noting that there are kosher wines from all over the world that are both high in quality and good values. "They aren't different, just special in that they satisfy the needs of the kosher consumer. Kosher wine is a process, not a type."

"Some mistakenly assume that kosher wines are of a lower quality than non-kosher wines," Peretz adds. "It is important for me to clarify that from a winemaker's point of view, there is no difference between kosher wines and non-kosher wines, and the quality of the wine is not determined, for better or for worse, by a kosher stamp. Kosher is an added value that wine lovers receive, similar to a vegan stamp and gluten-free."

The Best Kosher Wines, According to Experts

These are some of Peretz and Buchsbaum's favorite kosher wines. All of these wines are also kosher for Passover. Find these and many more at KosherWine.com.

Herzog Lineage Rosé
$18.99
($19.99 save 5%)
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Herzog
Herzog Special Reserve Lake County Cabernet
$39.99
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Herzog
Herzog Russian River Chardonnay
$29.99
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Herzog
Carmel Winery Signature Mediterranean 2017
$46.99
($52.99 save 11%)
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Carmel Winery

This wine might feel a little pricy at $46.99. If you are interested, there are similar red blends that are much less expensive, though they won't have the same flavor profile. Try the 2018 or 2019 from Carmel's Selected series, both less than $15.

Carmel Winery Gewürztraminer 2019
$24.99
($26.99 save 7%)
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Carmel Winery
Covenant Winery Blue C Adom Red
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Covenant Winery

Bottom Line 

For your Passover celebration and beyond, kosher wines are worth exploring. "In my opinion, the most important things in wine production are the quality of maintenance in the vineyards. This includes the ability to choose the appropriate grapes and raw materials, the correct processes in creating the wine and, of course, the soul of the winery workers invested in the preparation process. This applies to all wines, both kosher and non-kosher," says Peretz. "Kosher wines are always evolving and improving. The kosher and non-kosher consumer is always looking for the newest vintage, the newest varietal and the newest tastiest wine," concluded Buchsbaum.