Coming from a mishpacha (family) with both Eastern-European and Cuban roots, spirits – especially the fruit of the vine – has always been an essential part of our Passover seders and all family simchas (happy occasions). With Passover around the corner, I’ve been searching for kosher-for-Passover beverages that are more hip than your Bubbie’s Manichevitz wine she uses for charoset.
Sadly, kosher wine gets a bad rep as the “Smirnoff vodka of wines” – not necessarily known for its quality. The reason for this likely stems from the traditional method of mevushal wine production, in which the wine is boiled to make it kosher. However, this process often seriously degrades the wine’s flavor and agreeability.
But – thanks to Israeli agricultural-based wineries, instead of industrialized wineries, kosher wine is getting a makeover, and today there are even excellent mevushal wines. These days, Israeli wineries have made me a true believer in kosher wine. Israeli vineyards have added a lot of swag to kosher wine and have become major suppliers of kosher wine in the Jewish diaspora. This is due in part to kibbutz wineries that are becoming a sustainable source of agricultural revenue.
The new wave of Israeli wines is often made from grapes grown in kibbutzim around Israel. Many of the wineries and distilleries in Israel use organic muscat, sauvignon blanc, and viognier grapes – making the tannins more subliminal, smoother, and richer than most other kosher wines.
To help you find a “good” kosher wine for your Passover seder, I’ve compiled a list of wines that are Israeli, kosher for Passover, vegan, sustainably sourced, under $40, and available locally. For those who do not drink alcohol for health, personal, or other reasons – I’ve also added a delicious non-alcoholic option. You can find all of these at local Whole Foods Markets, Yes! Organic Markets, Balduccis, and kosher markets in Montgomery County (e.g. Shalom Kosher and Moti’s Market). In addition to Israeli wines, these kosher markets often stock many Spanish and Chilean wines that are also kosher for Passover.
My Cuban godfather is the one who first taught me the difference between a “good” wine and a “bad” wine. Being a discerning wine drinker who knows what she likes, I have become a fan of Spanish wine.
These wines are so good, you might not want to share them with Elijah. If you have other recommendations – please comment below!
(Alcohol Content 13%)
This Israeli Galilee wine has a deep hue, is full-bodied, and offers a mocha aroma.
This Spanish wine is made out of Tempranillo grapes and is one of the few kosher wines that isn’t made with sulfates. This wine has unique tannins of balsamic aromas.
(Alcohol Content 13.90%)
(Alcohol Content 5%)
This light Italian wine will most likely be on Drake’s Seder table this year. After all, he did spit the bars, “it’s a celebration, give me a glass of moscato, for a girl who’s on scholarship, and a friend who’s a model.” But, he isn’t the only hip hop star who loves this light Italian wine. There’s inside hip hop knowledge that stars from DJ Khaled to Lil’ Kim can be seen rocking this mevushal wine.
(Alcohol Content 0%)
Kedem grape juice isn’t the only kosher concord grape juice on the block. But this version is organic and free of sulfates. Although Kedem grape juice is a staple of Jewish simchas (celebrations), this organic version is even better since it’s less fermented, cold pressed, and half the calories of regular Kedem grape juice. It also makes a great spritzer when you add seltzer. On sale at Whole Foods Market.
(Alcohol Content 45%)
Good news! You can add margaritas to your Seder because Patrón Silver is certified kosher for Passover. It has notes of citrus.
About the Author: Michele Amira is a nice Jewish girl, DC based journalist, spoken word artist, and vegan. When not writing, she might be found Israeli dancing, listening to hip-hop, and enjoying a l’chaim (toast) with her favorite drink – margaritas on the rocks.
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