10 Passover Wines to Make Your Seder Shine

The Jewish holi­day of Pas­so­ver is known for its strict die­tary rules. During the week-long fes­ti­vity, obser­vant fami­lies avoid lea­ve­ned foods, like bread and cake, and eat meals that are limi­ted to ingre­dients desig­na­ted kosher for Pas­so­ver. But another big part of the Pas­so­ver cele­bra­tion is wine.

Wine plays a cen­tral role in the two cere­mo­nial din­ners that kick off Pas­so­ver, known as seders. During each seder, which invol­ves a ritual rete­lling of the Israe­li­tes’ esca­pe from Egypt, the­re are desig­na­ted points in which par­ti­ci­pants are ins­truc­ted to drink. In all, four glas­ses of wine are meant to be con­su­med. Though some merely sip a por­tion of the wine, many still take part in the full four-cup cele­bra­tion. So, it’s impor­tant to find wines that are drin­ka­ble, enjo­ya­ble and pair with the cele­bra­tory meal.

But, for fami­lies that follow the tra­di­tio­nal cus­toms, the wines ser­ved will also have to be desig­na­ted kosher for Pas­so­ver. Whether you’re a Pas­so­ver pro or were invi­ted to your first seder, we break down the dis­tin­ctions to keep in mind and which bottles to break out for dinner.

The Difference Between Kosher and Kosher-for-Passover Wines

When we speak of a food or beve­ra­ge being kosher, it means that it follows spe­ci­fic, neces­sary para­me­ters set by a res­pec­ted reli­gious autho­rity. The­re are many dif­fe­rent rules surroun­ding kosher foods and drinks that obser­ving Jewish peo­ple follow year-round. This may inclu­de avoi­ding cer­tain foods alto­gether (pork and shell­fish can­not be eaten), not mixing cer­tain ingre­dients (dairy and meat pro­ducts can­not be eaten together) or follo­wing a spe­ci­fic method of pro­duc­tion and pre­pa­ra­tion. Foods that follow the­se strict rules are indi­ca­ted by a sym­bol on food pro­ducts. This also holds true for wine and spirits.

Howe­ver, there’s a sepa­ra­te cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that exists just for tho­se foods or beve­ra­ges that are also kosher for Pas­so­ver. An item can be kosher all year and not be kosher for that one week—and that is whe­re the con­fu­sion comes in.

What Makes a Wine Kosher for Passover?

A wine that is kosher for Pas­so­ver will be made without grain pro­ducts or lea­ve­ning agents, such as any yeast that’s not kosher for Pas­so­ver. Also, a kosher super­vi­sor will over­see the ingre­dients, pro­cess and equip­ment used to ensu­re they meet a cer­tain standard.

What keeps any kosher wine kosher for Pas­so­ver is simply this: Any additives—such as yeast or ML[malolactic cultures]—would need to be cer­ti­fied kosher for Pas­so­ver,” says Jeff Mor­gan, foun­ding wine­ma­ker of Cove­nant Winery. “Yeast [for wine] are inhe­rently kosher for Pas­so­ver, but if they were pro­ces­sed in a pla­ce whe­re non-kosher ingre­dients were also pro­ces­sed, it could be a problem.”

In short: Any kosher wine will have to follow all kosher die­tary laws and super­vi­sion, but kosher-for-Pas­so­ver wines do this at a higher level and incor­po­ra­te the grain and lea­ve­ning res­tric­tion that is a hall­mark of the holiday.

How to Tell if Wine Is Kosher for Passover

No one wants to bring the wrong wine as a guest to a Pas­so­ver seder. Any kosher-for-Pas­so­ver wine will have a “P” sym­bol or “Kosher for Pas­so­ver” next to the kosher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on the label.

The Best Kosher for Passover Wines to Buy

Covenant 2021 The Tribe Chardonnay (Lodi)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

This ele­gant, lightly but­te­red and well-balan­ced wine offers gol­den apples, a touch of cara­mel and a smooth soft tex­tu­re bac­ked by a touch of lemon. Fer­men­ted by nati­ve yeast, it is medium bodied and nicely dry. —Jim Gor­don

$28.34 Vivino

Golan Heights Winery 2018 Yarden Syrah (Galilee)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Dark vio­let-red to the eye, this wine has aro­mas of cas­sis, Cham­bord and oran­ge zest. A web of opu­lent tan­nins sup­ports fla­vors of dark plums, ripe sum­mer cherry, tof­fee and cho­co­la­te cove­red espres­so bean. A splash of Valen­cia oran­ge shows up just in time for the soothing finish. —Mike DeSimo­ne

$35.99 Wine.com

Recanati 2018 Special Reserve Red (Galilee)

92 Points Wine Entuhsiast

This dark red-vio­let wine has aro­mas of cas­sis, black­berry and a touch of green bell pep­per. It feels good in the mouth with plush tan­nins and fla­vors of black cherry, black currant, milk cho­co­la­te and vio­let and a bright finish. —M.D.

$62.99 Vivino

Recanati 2019 Reserve David Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Galilee)

91 Points Wine Entuhsiast

Dark ruby to the eye, this wine has a nose of fruits of the wood, smo­ked meat and thy­me. It is bright at first sip. Fla­vors of cran­berry and pome­gra­na­te are joi­ned by firm tan­nins and notes of dark cho­co­la­te and roas­ted almond. The­re is a touch of vio­let on the long finish. —M.D.

$29.99 Vivino

Galil Mountain 2019 Galil Alon Red (Galilee)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Deep vio­let-red to the eye, this wine has aro­mas of cherry, black­berry and black pep­per. Fla­vors of black cherry, rasp­berry, bit­ters­weet cho­co­la­te and sal­ted almonds are fra­med by plush tan­nins that dis­sol­ve into an oran­ge zest finish. —M.D.

$23.09 Vivino

Covenant 2021 Mensch Zinfandel (Lodi)

89 Points Wine Enthusiast

This rich, smooth and mouth­fi­lling wine packs in black­be­rries, straw­be­rries and dark plums for a very fruity, ripe expres­sion, bac­ked by full body and light tan­nins. —J.G.

$19.99 Gar­y’s Wine

Domaine Bousquet 2021 Alavida Malbec (Mendoza)

89 Points Wine Enthusiast

This is one of the few Argen­ti­ne Kosher Mal­bec wines on the mar­ket. The gra­pes were sour­ced from orga­nic vines in Uco Valley. It’s fruit-for­ward, with notes of ripe plum and cherry on the nose and the pala­te. Soft tan­nins and lively aci­dity lead to a fla­vor­ful, medium finish. Best Buy —Jesi­ca Vargas

$17.99 Wine.com

Golan Heights Winery 2021 Mount Hermon White (Galilee)

89 Points Wine Enthusiast

This wine has aro­mas of pineap­ple, lemon and baked apple. It has fla­vors of pineap­ple, gra­pe­fruit, green apple, whi­te flo­wers and a flo­ral lift on the finish. Best Buy —M.D.

$13.99 Vivino

Backsberg 2019 Kosher Brut Méthode Cap Classique Sustainably Farmed (Coastal Region)

88 Points Wine Enthusiast

A nose of ripe apple, pear and melon repeats on the pala­te along­si­de medium aci­dity and foamy bub­bles. It has a fresh, short finish. —J.V.

$ Varies Wine-Sear­cher

Backsberg 2020 Kosher Sustainably Farmed Chardonnay (Paarl)

88 Points Wine Enthusiast

This wine is medium-bodied and unoa­ked, offe­ring ripe light notes of lime and whi­te gra­pe­fruit. The nose leads with subtle lime aro­mas. On the pala­te, an oily tex­tu­re and citrus cha­rac­ter is sup­por­ted by good aci­dity that carries the fla­vors throughout the long lemony finish. Best Buy —J.V.

$ Varies Wine-Sear­cher

Aura di Valerie 2017 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

88 Points Wine Enthusiast

This Ama­ro­ne high­lights the earthi­ness of the Val­po­li­ce­lla region. The wine smells of dark-roas­ted cof­fee beans, pen­cil sha­vings, and cho­co­la­te-coated black che­rries. Each sip fea­tu­res the earth notes first which then give way to the cha­rac­te­ris­tic dark fruit expec­ted in Ama­ro­ne. —Jeff Por­ter

$ Varies Wine-Sear­cher


Why Are There Four Cups of Wine at Passover?

Asi­de from the truth that a few glas­ses of wine make an exten­ded family din­ner a lot easier to digest, there’s actually a reason for this tra­di­tion. Wine is sym­bo­lic of free­dom, and the four cups of wine are repre­sen­ta­ti­ve of the four phra­ses used in the Bible to des­cri­be God lea­ding the Jews out of sla­very. The num­ber four also has a recu­rring the­me within the holiday.

What Is the Symbolism of Wine on Passover?

Qui­te simply, free­dom and redem­ption. But as an added bene­fit, the wine pairs beau­ti­fully with so many Pas­so­ver foods, from a crisp whi­te with matzo ball soup to a hear­tier red with brisket.

Is Kosher for Passover Wine Hard to Find?

Actually, it’s rather easy! Most kosher wine is also kosher for Pas­so­ver, making it easier to sell this wine (and for con­su­mers to stock up on bottles) year-round. But that’s not the case with some spi­rits. For exam­ple, you’ll be unli­kely to find kosher-for-Pas­so­ver whis­key, as whis­key is made with grain.

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