Solage Calistoga’s Sommelier, Scott Turnbull, on How to Pick the Right Kosher Wine for Passover
Fewer things are as complicated as the guidelines for making kosher food, but did you know that there are also rules for kosher wine?
With Passover fast approaching, you may find yourself looking for a good kosher wine, but not just any kosher wine will work for Passover.
To help you pick out a good wine for Passover, the Solage Calistoga’s Sommelier, Scott Turnbull, weighs in with a few suggestions.
What makes wine kosher?
Although there are many specific guidelines that go into making a kosher wine, the basics are that:
- The winemaking process must be supervised by a rabbi
- Only Jewish males who are Sabbath observant must handle the grapes and bottle the wine
What’s different about wine that is kosher for Passover, and other kosher wines?
Not all kosher wine is also kosher for Passover (although a kosher for Passover wine is kosher for all occasions).
In order to be considered kosher for Passover, the wine must not come in contact with any bread, grain, or dough. Essentially, it must be kept separate from any leavening agents.
Since yeast is essential to the winemaking process (it converts sugar into alcohol through fermentation), the yeast used for wine that is kosher for Passover cannot have been grown on bread. There are also other common preservatives that are also forbidden.
How do I know if a bottle of wine is kosher for Passover?
There are some handy labels included on wine bottles that will help you choose a wine that is kosher for Passover. To find a safe wine, look for a “P” on the label, which stands for kosher for Passover.
If you are still unsure which wine to choose, you can always ask your neighborhood rabbi about specific brands of kosher wine.
Where can I find a good kosher wine for Passover?
Most wine stores in the U.S. will have a kosher section, with popular kosher brands including Manischewitz and Yarden. Napa Valley and Northern California wineries that make kosher wine include Covenant Wines in Berkeley and Hagafen in Napa.
Scott Turnbull recommends these bottles to try:
- Tishbi Emerald Riesling, Carmel Mountain, Israel ($11)
- Hagafen Chardonnay ($24)
- Laurent-Perrier Brut Rose ($79.99)
- Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)
About Scott Turnbull
Scott joined the Solage Calistoga team in 2013 as our sommelier and beverage manager of the Solbar. Scott came to Napa by way of Philadelphia, where he was the sommelier and restaurant manager of Fountain Restaurant.