The coronavirus pandemic has upended all of our lives in different ways. Alas, Passover is just around the corner, and although many of us will make our seder alone or with only our immediate family, wine still plays a central role as part of The Four Cups.
Kosher wine almost always is also kosher-for-Passover (with very few exceptions but still, check the bottle to be sure). So how to approach Passover wine buying in the coronavirus age?
The important point to make is that you should be reading this column from the comfort of your home, staying safe from this unprecedented threat against our health. Nothing matters more, and that 2001 Chateau Pontet Canet is worth zilch if you’re not around to enjoy it. So listen to the experts, hunker down, and read on to learn where you can buy great kosher wine from safe inside your abode.
I’ve used all the various online resources to buy wine in recent years, so I will list some of my favorites. We’ll start with the online retailers, and for brevity’s sake I’ll mention my two favorite and reliable sites.
The Online Choices
With the largest and most diverse inventory — including library wines and many hard-to-find bottles, and some bottles that only kosherwine carries (including some that they help produce) — kosherwine.com is the obvious choice. They offer free shipping on full cases, including mixed cases, and usually will get your order to you within 1-to-2 business days here in Baltimore.
A smaller, more “Mom and Pop” outfit is onlinekosherwine.com. OKW has a very nice selection, and offers discounts which essentially equate to free shipping with cases.
Check their website, as they usually make the promo codes very visible and easy to apply (currently the promo code is CART10). Shipping takes 1-2 business days for those located in Baltimore.
Call the store (855-798-0787) with any questions. They are always eager to please.
California Winery Clubs
I am a member of various kosher “wine clubs,” and for my part, the only worthwhile ones are those in which you are able to choose what you want. I have joined the wine clubs of all of the kosher winemakers in California over the years and here’s what I suggest:
Shirah Winery: Rock star winemaker brothers Gabe and Shimon Weiss offer a quarterly wine club in which you get a variety of new and sometimes unavailable bottles for $250, plus tax and shipping. (https://shirahwine.com/product/tasting-room-member/)
Hagafen Winery: The oldest of the all-kosher wineries in the United States, Hagafen has a very flexible club program in which you can choose how much you would like to spend (between $95 and $250, plus tax and shipping), and have access to the Hagafen Prix label, not available elsewhere. (https://www.hagafen.com/Wine-Club)
Covenant Winery: Covenant Winery, of Berkeley, California, offers premier wine through their Landsman or Kiddush Wine Club, in which they offer club-only wines and other discounts and perks. You can choose between a monthly shipment ($108, plus tax and shipping) or shipments three times a year ($285 and up, plus tax and shipping). (https://covenantwines.com/wine-clubs/)
Hajdu Winery: Jon Hajdu, winemaker at the aforementioned Covenant Winery, offers his own label of groundbreaking wines. His Adventurer’s Guild Wine Club allows you to receive wines you won’t even see anywhere else, and often varietals of which you are unfamiliar. ($232, plus shipping and taxes.) (https://www.hajduwines.com/Wine-Clubs)
Herzog Winery: Kosher wine behemoth Herzog offers multiple club choices. Keeping in mind that Herzog produces a full line of wines from inexpensive supermarket choices to high-end bottles worthy of the finest cellars, their club prices run the gamut of very affordable to more premium pricing. Other discounts and club member perks are noted here: (https://herzogwine.com/wineclub/)
Liquid Kosher: Not a winery, but curated and maintained by sommelier Andrew Breskin. Liquid Kosher’s The Cellar Wine Club offers limited-allocation and exclusive wines. Membership will allow you 4-6 wines per quarter ($199-$249, plus shipping and taxes). (https://liquidkosher.com/)
Please stay safe, and as always, feel free to reach out to me @kennethfriedmanevents on Instagram with any of your kosher wine questions.
Dr. Kenneth Friedman is a Baltimore-born kosher wine aficionado/connoisseur. He is known for his unsolicited wine advice and runs many local kosher wine tastings.
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