Kosher for Passover Wines…What are Kosher Wines? Why are they Important?
As the resident Jew, I believe I need to share with you all a little about Kosher wines, especially for this time of year.
Most people who don’t know too many Jews believe that the most important holiday in the Jewish religion is Chanukah. It makes sense considering it usually falls around Christmas time which we in America take very seriously. The most important Jewish Holidays are Rosh Hashanah (The New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Passover (The Exodus of Egypt and the beginning of the journey to the Promised Land).
Each of these holidays has their own set of rules and regulations on celebration that correspond to traditional elements bringing to life the history of the Jewish people. During Passover, this is the most prominent.
Kosher is a term relating to specifications on what can and cannot be consumed as told in the chapter of Leviticus in the Old Testimate. The rules of Kashrut are many including not mixing milk and meat, not consuming hooved animals, nor shellfish.
But during Passover, the laws of Kashrut get extended and not only do you practice keeping Kosher, but now the Jewish people have to keep Kosher for the duration of Passover which is 7 days. During this time, Jewish people refrain from eating leavened bread, pastas, rice in some cases, and some refuse to eat lamb as well.
So how does wine play a role in this?
Per the Wine Industry Advisor,
“To be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must supervise and sometimes handle the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until the wine is bottled. Any ingredients used, including yeasts and fining agents, must be kosher.”
There is an ancient process that is sometimes used called Meshuval. In this process, the wine is cooked (pasteurized) either before fermentation or right before it is bottled. This does not change the flavor of the wine. That is a common myth.
These wines can then get a certification (the heckscher or kosher symbol) from a certified Rabbi who must supervise the grapes from start to finish.
For Passover, these wines must be made without any contact with leavened breads and yeasts for leavened breads. Most Kosher wines are also Kosher for Passover, but double check before you buy if you are being careful.
As with all winemaking, Kosher Wines are continually getting better. Not all kosher wine is the sweet and syrup-like, like Manischewitz. There are a ton of great Kosher wines you can enjoy this Passover.
Here’s a Short list:
Cheers! And Chag Sameach to those who celebrate!