Despite new rules to “stay at home”, “shelter in place”, “social distancing”, Spring brings visible changes to the environment and the calendar keeps moving forward. Covid 19 or not, Passover and Easter will arrive and even if celebrated in new ways, this year is certain to be remembered.
Wine is an important part of celebrating and, for Passover there four cups of wine as part of the ritual. Our current rules will automatically require our celebrations to depart from our usual and many people are creatively finding ways to connect distantly.
I am always interested in wines that work well for Passover because usually the four cups are just the beginning and wine companies have new offerings each year. According to Jay Buchsbaum, Director Wine Education and VP Royal Wine Corp.,for 30 plus years, “Easter and Passover both are lunar based holidays, and many Easter celebrations look for wines from the holy land such as Carmel and Barkan, both Israel-based wine companies. They are widely available, and priced right with high wine scorings.”
Mr. Buchsbaum kindly answered some questions for Splash Magazines Worldwide, as well.
At Passover, the question is “Why is this night different from all other nights?” but can you share how this year is different from all other years?
Because of social distancing, people will have smaller Seders, so those you are sharing it with are key to picking wines that all of you enjoy. Splurge, especially now on something special. Many are choosing better wines and those that have cellars are bringing up the big guns they have been saving for years !
Do you have suggestions about the best way to obtain Kosher wines given the shopping restrictions and challenges many are facing?
Wines are considered essentials across the country even where other retailers are closed. Many stores are delivering. There are several larger online stores that specialize in kosher and simply by googling kosher wine, you can get this info including local stores. It is always a good idea to call your local retailer first and see what is available and what services are offered to the community.
In the new world of distancing where Zoom or Skype are likely to be a Seder addition, do you have tips about how to manage the ritual four cups of wine?
Jewish tradition and practice cover a wide range of observances many will not use electronic devices on the holiday . For those that do use it as you would a business or family meeting, you can include even more people than you would have ordinarily.
Are there any special tips or information you would like to share with Splash Magazines Worldwide readers?
Yes, the Seder requires 4 cups of wine be drunk during the meal… it’s interesting that in years past many would drink less some not at all because of driving restrictions but now all are remaining home so loosen up a little and enjoy the wine and those with you even more. Always of course drink responsibly. I’m reminded of a legend they tell about the first Rothschild who established the wine dynasty, when he was asked what his favorite wine he ever had was he replied, “not sure I remember the wine but I certainly remember the wonderful company I shared it with” so this year more than ever enjoy the experience using wine as one important catalyst.
Note: the clock is ticking – Passover 2020 starts at sundown on Wednesday, April 8. And while ROYAL WINE can’t help with the cooking and cleaning, they’ve got you covered when it comes to quality kosher wines of every kind and every price range.
Wine expert Gabriel Geller, Director of PR and Manager of Wine Education for Kedem /Royal Wine Corp, offers his insights and top picks for Passover 2020 so you have one less thing to stress about.
Q. What’s new for this year’s Seders and everyday meals?
First, let me say that there’s currently an excellent variety of notable and intriguing wines out there. The kosher wine market is thirsty for innovation. Every year we see new advancements in terms of grape varieties, styles of wine, and high quality-price-ratio. That’s the name of the game.
As for specifics, we’re very excited about Or Haganuz Amuka Light, a fine, dry, and affordable Cabernet Sauvignon from Israel’s Upper Galilee with only 9% alcohol by volume. Herzog Lineage Pinot Noir is a well-made, medium-bodied wine from California’s Clarksburg wine country, and you can’t go wrong with Jezreel Valley Rosé, a refreshing wine made from Mediterranean varieties. If you’re looking for a great white wine, Château Gazin Rocquencourt Blanc is a complex white from the Pessac-Léognan region in Bordeaux. And of course, we’re thrilled to introduce the new Bartenura Moscato in cans!
Q. What are Royal Wine’s best-selling wines?
People love the Bartenura Moscato, which is one reason we’re releasing it in cans. The Barkan Classic Pinot Noir is extremely popular as are Jeunesse Cabernet Sauvignon, Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and wines from highly esteemed houses such as Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc, Herzog Lineage Choreograph, and Barons de Rothschild Haut-Médoc. These are all kosher for Passover and year-round.
Q. What are some current trends in the kosher wine industry?
We’re seeing innovation in sparkling wines, rosés, and “exotic” grape varieties like Albariño, Carignan, Marselan, and Mourvèdre. But these developments are happening across the wine industry, not just in kosher wines. As we’ve been telling consumers for years, kosher wines are no different than other wines, aside from the kosher supervision.
Q. Do non-kosher people buy kosher wine?
Yes, of course. As I said, kosher wine is no different and just as good as wines that are not kosher certified.
Q. Back to Passover: any further recommendations?
Absolutely. Domaine Les Marronniers Chablis 1er Cru 2018, Château Gazin Rocquencourt Blanc 2018, Château Giscours Margaux 2017, Barons Edmond-Benjamin de Rothschild Haut-Médoc 2016 30th Anniversary Edition, Herzog Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga 2016, Alfasi Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Segal Wild Fermentation Chardonnay 2018, Jezreel Valley Gewurztraminer 2019, Tabor Adama Roussanne 2019, Binyamina Chosen Petite Sirah 2014, and Domaine Villebois Pouilly Fumé 2019. To name a few.
Consumers who are home sheltering or quarantined can order Passover wine and Passover foods online for home delivery:
Check out Kosher.com
About Royal Wine/Kedem
Founded in 1848, Royal Wine Corp. has been owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family, whose wine making 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.
Additionally, Royal Wine Corp.’s spirit and liqueur portfolio offer some of the most sought-after scotches, bourbons, tequilas and vodkas as well as hard to find specialty items such as flavored brandies and liqueurs.
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. (@royalwinecorp, https://www.facebook.com/RoyalWineCorp/