We just finished celebrating Passover, one of my family’s favorite holidays. Passover was one of two holidays that I remember from my childhood, the other being Rosh HaShanah. We were what you would call culturally Jewish, but not religious. But, the story of the Jewish people being freed from slavery and leaving Egypt was something that our entire family enjoyed telling and repeated year after year. As an adult, one of the key features of the Passover meal I particularly like is the four cups of wine drank during the seder.
The switch to kosher wine
Once my wife and I decided to become religious and keep a kosher home, wine with the proper kosher stamp became an important factor. As you know by reading my story, I grew up in France, home to the most incredibly delicious wine in the world. Did we now have to resort to drinking Manischewitz? My wife and I were quite surprised when we did our first shopping trip for kosher wine. The selection was unbelievable and we did not have to compromise on taste.
The kosher wine scene does not lack for excitement
Before Passover, in March, there was a kosher wine expo in Jerusalem. Thousands of wine lovers, religious and not, poured into the convention center to taste wines produced by more than 40 wineries. The kosher wine business in Israel is growing, and we can see the evidence in our stores here in America. Kashrut standards are climbing too. A good example is Netofa winery, located in the lower Galilee on Mt. Tavor, which made its second appearance at the wine expo, sporting a Badatz Edah HaChareidit kashrut certificate, the highest certification attainable.
Not to be left out, we had our own wine festival here in LA—the Los Angeles Kosher Wine and Food Experience. It also took place in March, with ample time to pick out Passover wine. Held at the posh Peterson Automotive Museum, more than 1,000 people turned out to partake of two floors of wine and food. The Los Angeles Kosher Wine and Food Experience is the largest kosher wine event on the West Coast. Guests were privileged to taste new wines from Herzog Wine Cellars, such as the Limited Edition Camouflage, a Bordeaux. The annual event draws wine producers from across the globe, including Tzafona, a new Canadian winery producing an ice wine, a very rare and difficult dessert wine.
You don’t have to wait for the next wine festival to find about the best and newest kosher wines. Magazines are filled with kosher wine reviews, there are countless numbers of kosher wine blogs, and just about every wine store on the planet is stocked with kosher wine from some country in the world. You can visit wineries and taste for yourself their newest offerings, or stock up on your favorites.
No, it is definitely not your grandmother’s wine. So stock up and enjoy—during Passover and all year round.
By Oren Laurent