Food & Home

Kosher Wines for Passover

No kosher Passover feast is complete without some wine: We finally found two gorgeous options from the Napa Valley that are sure to take your Seder up a notch (sorry Mr. Manishevitz).

Jeff Morgan on Covenant Wine

I wish I could tell you that Covenant wine was born from some highly spiritual quest. But it really started with a dare. Back in 2002, my friend and now partner in Covenant wines, Leslie Rudd, told me he didn’t really think we could make a great wine that was kosher. We were both making non-kosher wine in the Napa Valley. But as non-practicing Jews, we didn’t have much faith in those syrupy sweet, weird Concord grape wines we’d grown up drinking at Passover.

Prior to becoming a winemaker, I had been a wine writer, most notably for Wine Spectator. I’d learned over the years that there is no “kosher winemaking” method. In fact, all wine starts off kosher. But to keep it kosher, it can only be handled by Sabbath-observant Jews. Leslie and I found grapes in an old Napa vineyard originally planted in 1889. We were then able to convince one of only three kosher wineries in California to lend us their cellar crew to help with our project. We used the same time-honored winemaking methods that our non-kosher friends and colleagues—many of whom make some of the most famous wines in California and Europe—employ for their own wines. The right grapes paired with the right winemaking techniques yielded some excellent results.

I’ve been generously welcomed into the fold by a Jewish community I would never have known had I not become a kosher winemaker. This powerful bond that I now feel with Jewish history has given me a greater sense of belonging.

As we drink the four cups of wine at Passover this year, I’ll be pouring Covenant. The wine has been a gift to me. And it’s a gift that I am happy to share. And if anyone reading this is planning a trip to the Napa Valley, come visit us for a taste of Covenant too!

Jeff Morgan is the winemaker and co-owner of Covenant wines. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Napa Valley.