This Passover, spend your holiday in Israel, Italy, and France, without ever leaving the Seder table. This year NJ-based Royal Wine, the world’s largest purveyor of kosher wines and spirits, offers Passover selections from across the globe—including a new label from NBA All Star Amar’e Stoudemire —in a broad range of tastes and prices.
“The kosher wine renaissance over the past two decades has led to more and more sophisticated options for Passover each year,” says Jay Buchsbaum, executive VP, marketing and director of wine education at Royal Wine Corp. “2018 has been an exciting year for exceptional new releases from every major wine producing region in the world.” Even celebrities and sports stars are leveraging their name recognition to produce and sell wine.
Thirty-five-year-old former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire recently unveiled three varieties of Israeli wine whose labels bear his name, produced at the “Stoudemire Cellars” of Kfar Tikva in the Upper Galilee, imported and distributed by the Royal Wine Corp.
It’s no surprise that many of today’s kosher wines are winning international competitions in top award categories. Bottom line: there’s no reason the quality of wine at your Seder can’t stand up to a glorious meal and your best crystal goblets.
Royal has released a range of notable wines and spirits to fit virtually everyone’s budget, from $5 to $500. This Passover, don’t be plagued by kosher wines…now those four cups can be something to be savored, not endured.
Here are a few highlights from around the world to watch for this Passover:
- Stoudemire Private Collection, a unique blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Petit Verdot, from NBA All Star Amar’e Stoudemire’s new wine collection, SRP: $244.99
- Stoudemire Reserve, a glittering maroon red with aromas of black fruits that characterize the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, from the Upper Galilee, SRP: $59.99
- Stoudemire Grand Reserve, this unique blend is full body with aromas of black fruits, tobacco, toasted oak and ripe pepper, from Kfar Tikva, SRP: $99.99
- Château Remo, a new boutique winery from Israel’s Galilee region ($24.99–$34.99)
- Gush Etzion, a great boutique winery from the Judean Hills returns to America with an impressive array of high quality wines ($22.99–$59.99)
- Domaine du Castel La Vie, a selection of well-priced, high-quality red and white wines ($24.99)
- Jezreel Levanim and Adumim, approachable and affordable, these are wines that reflect the Israeli terroir ($22.99 – $28.99)
- Barkan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that’s practically unmatched in quality for the price ($19.99)
- Covenant Israel Blue C Viognier, a delicious white wine made by Covenant’s Jeff Morgan, famous for his highly rated California Cabernet, at his Israeli winery ($32.99)
- Champagne Barons De Rothschild, an elegant and classic champagne from this famed family of wines ($79.99)
- Chateau Trijet, Bordeaux 2015. This is a wine made from organically grown grapes which proves that quality Bordeaux wines can also be inexpensive (SRP $12.99)
- Chateau Fontenil, Fronsac 2015. This is the first kosher cuvee of Michel Rolland’s winery in the Fronsac appellation in Bordeaux. Michel Rolland is arguably the world’s most sought-after consultant winemaker, overseeing the production of wines at hundreds of wineries all over the globe (SRP $54.99)
- Chateau Lascombes, A Grand Cru from Margaux 2015 made kosher for the first time (SRP $124.99)
- Herzog Lineage, the brand-new series of top-value wines from Herzog Wine Cellars ($19.99) that includes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a Rose.
- Hagafen, 36th Anniversary Winemaker’s Reserve (SRP $109.99)
- Bartenura, Sparkling Moscato Rosé, beautifully packaged for gift giving and celebration (SRP $21.99)
- Bartenura, Limited Edition Demi Sec, a unique and festive blend of Glera and Moscato (SRP $24.99)
- Teal Lake, Sauvignon Blanc, a great and inexpensive refreshing white from Australia (SRP $11.99)
- Celler de Capçanes Peraj Ha’abib Special Edition Pinot Noir 2015, a superb Pinot Noir from Catalonia’s cult Spanish winery ($31.99)
- Alfasi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, top QPR Cabernet from this booming New World region (SRP $11.99)
- Flechas de Los Andes Gran Malbec, an amazing Malbec from a world-famous winery that is part of the Rothchild wine estates (SPR $29.99)
The spirit of Passover won’t stop at wines, thanks to these new releases:
- LVOV Vodka distilled from beets (MSRP $20)
- Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol Plata Tequila (MSRP $37)
- Reposado, distilled from wild agave harvested in the Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico (similar to its Mexican cousins tequila, mezcal, and sotol) (MSRP $40)
What Makes Kosher Wine Kosher
“People may be surprised to know that most kosher certified wines are kosher for year-round use as well as for Passover,” says Buchsbaum. Here are more facts to help you understand what makes wine kosher:
- Kosher wine is made in precisely the same way as “regular” wine. The only difference is that there is rabbinical oversight during the process and that the wine is handled by Sabbath-observant Jews.
- Not all Israeli wines are kosher. Only about 30% of Israeli wine brands are certified kosher, but the kosher wineries produce over 90% of the Israel wine industry’s output.
- In the 1980s, there were very few kosher wines. Buchsbaum says that Royal Wine only imported three kosher wines from Bordeaux back then.
- The number of producers of kosher wines has dramatically increased in the past 10 to 20 years. Royal Wine Corp. represents more than 60 kosher wine producers. This is due to an increase in interest from consumers who are adding to their kosher wine portfolios, and in some cases building actual kosher wine cellars in their homes, a rare sight just two decades ago.
- While a number of well-known wineries in countries from all over the world including France, Spain, Italy, and Argentina are crafting special runs of kosher wine, California is not. With the exception of Marciano Estate, which produces a kosher run of their Terra Gratia, a high-end Napa Valley Blend, all kosher California wine is made by fully kosher wineries such as Herzog Wine Cellars, Covenant, and Hagafen.
- The reason many Passover dinners feature red wine is because there’s a rabbinic opinion that red wine is preferable since it’s the same variety that Jews used during their Seders after they escaped Egypt.
- Kosher wines can range in price from $5 a bottle to $500. The average price for a bottle of good kosher wine is $25.
- The most popular Moscato in the U.S. happens to be kosher. Bartenura produces the largest selling imported Italian Moscato in the U.S. The Moscato in the famous blue bottle sells over 5,000,000 bottles annually, only a fraction of which goes to the kosher market.
- Currently there is a steady increase in total wine consumption and great interest specifically in high-end Israeli wines, as well as the better French wines.
- Drinking wine can be a mitzvah. Kosher wine is prescribed for use in many Jewish rituals: bris milah, the wedding chuppah, and the kiddush that starts all Sabbath and holiday meals. While most occasions call for just one cup, on the holiday of Purim, wine (in abundance) is the beverage of choice for the festive meal. On Passover, Jews are required to drink four cups of wine at the Seder.
About Royal Wine/Kedem
Founded in 1848, Royal Wine Corp. has been owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family, whose winemaking roots go back eight generations to its origin in Czechoslovakia.
Today, Royal Wine’s portfolio of domestic and international wines range from traditional wine producing regions of France, Italy, and Spain, as well as Israel, New Zealand, and Argentina.
The company owns and operates the Kedem Winery in upstate New York, as well as Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, California, a state-of-the-art-facility featuring guided wine tours, a fully staffed modern tasting room, gift shop, and catering facilities. Additionally, the winery houses the award-winning restaurant Tierra Sur, serving the finest, Mediterranean-inspired, contemporary Californian cuisine.