What makes a wine kosher and how to understand the certifications

Covenant winery founder Jeff Morgan, right, and winemaker Jonathan Hajdu. (Courtesy of Covenant Wines)

Wine figures prominently in the Jewish Passover, which begins April 15 this year, and Christian Easter, two days later. The Last Supper was a Passover celebration, in which Jesus told his disciples the wine they were drinking was his blood, given in sacrifice for them. Drinking wine brings redemption. Today’s Eucharist or Communion re-creates this moment and its powerful symbolism, whether with wine or grape juice. In the Passover Seder, adult celebrants consume four cups of wine (“cup” not being a precise measure) to commemorate the redemption of the Israelites from slavery under the Egyptians. A fifth cup is poured but left unconsumed in hopes the prophet Elijah will pop by with news of the Messiah — hope for future redemption.

Each year in the weeks before Passover, I’ve recommended several kosher wines, and I’ve written before about the significance of wine in the Passover ritual. But some misperceptions and questions persist about kosher wines.

Three kosher wines to go with your Passover meal, from start to finish