Greg actually commented on last week’s “Passover 2012 Top 5 Wine List” post, but I thought it was worth sharing my answer in a Mailbag Monday. Thanks for commenting, Greg!
If one (like me) doesn’t drink Kosher wine during the rest of they year, what is the impetus to drink Kosher wine during Passover?
This is a great question, and one that I’ve gone back and forth with myself.
It’s probably no surprise to readers that, while I take my religion and heritage seriously, I’m not an observant Jew. I’m a member of a local synagogue, but I only attend services a dozen times throughout the year. When I go, the rabbi knows my name, as do a number of the other congregants, so it’s always a warm welcome and I always feel very comfortable, but I’m just not very religious. This also means, as you can tell from my blog, I don’t keep kosher. In fact, it’s only in the fall during the High Holy Days and in the spring during the 8 days of Passover that I drink kosher wine exclusively. I started doing this in 2009 when I started learning more about wine.
As for drinking only kosher wines during Passover, in particular, that really became an extension of my avoiding chametz (the grains that can’t be completely cooked within 18 minutes of first coming in contact with water). I never avoided those foods while growing up, so when I decided to incorporate this into my celebration of Passover, it was a bit of a learning experience. I basically just avoided beer and wine during this period, since I just assumed that it wasn’t allowed. As I become more experienced, though, I realized most kosher wines are kosher for Passover, so while beer is still something I avoid, kosher wines fit perfectly into my more limited diet during the holidays.
For Jews that don’t avoid chametz during Passover, though, there is still a reason to think about kosher wines for Passover. The holiday is a springtime holiday, recognizing the barley harvest. While that may be a reason to think about drinking more beer, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of option for kosher for Passover beer. Therefore, it’s a good reason to drink kosher wines to celebrate that harvest, as well as a way to recognize and explore the wonderful things happening with kosher wines all over the world.
Plus, let’s be honest, the most important reason to drink more kosher wine is because an increased demand for quality kosher wine means that we all will be less likely to have to suffer through another bottle of Manischewitz concord grape wine.