Champagne almost never misses an occasion. It’s a mainstay in many special occasions and gatherings. But when it comes to religious practices, a question that goes beyond nuances and bubbles comes up: Is champagne kosher?
To be considered kosher, champagne has to adhere to Jewish dietary laws. It needs to be naturally fermented and avoid non-kosher ingredients – this part is fairly straightforward and applies to nearly all champagnes. However, not all champagnes are kosher. Furthermore, not all kosher champagnes are kosher for Passover specifically, as there are even stricter requirements for wines served during this holiday.
In this post, we’ll explore the different considerations that define kosher champagne, from the meticulous winemaking processes to the religious practices that play a role in its production and consumption. We’ll also introduce you to some of the best kosher-certified wines to bring to the table for the next Passover.
Do Champagnes Have To Be Kosher?
Not all Champagne is kosher, but some choose to seek out kosher champagne based on religious beliefs and traditions. Consuming Champagne (or other wines) that are kosher is a requirement among many strictly observant Jews. If you happen to prefer your champagne to be kosher, you should be able to find stores that sell them as Passover gifts.
Production runs of kosher champagne are a relatively recent development for many champagne houses, as it requires some extra steps for certification. Historically kosher champagne has been offered by only a few producers.
One thing to remember about kosher champagnes is that they adhere to specific dietary laws. Winemakers make champagnes with Kosher certification to deliver a product that fits the dietary preferences and needs of those who follow Kosher dietary laws.
For those who aren’t concerned about following the letter of dietary laws so strictly, you can enjoy your non-kosher wine with confidence that the actual ingredients and production steps are practically identical to kosher wine (other than whether a practicing Jew instead of a non-Jewish person handles the wine ingredients during production). Champagne that does not have a kosher certification is not of less quality than kosher wines in terms of ingredients, flavor, or production process.
Kosher for Year-Round Use vs. Kosher for Passover
The dietary laws defining what food and drinks are kosher apply throughout the year. However, because Passover is a special and sacred holiday, there are some extra rules that apply specifically for this holiday.
The main difference is that during passover foods that contain bread leavening agents are to be avoided.
Thankfully, when it comes to wine, pretty much all champagne that is kosher throughout the year is also kosher for Passover. This is because the process of making champagne does not involve yeast that comes from grains that are forbidden during passover which are Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rye, and Spelt. In other words, it is clearly unleavened.
What Makes Champagne Kosher for Passover?
For champagne and sparkling wines to be considered kosher, it needs to be handled and produced in accordance with halaka and kashrut dietary laws. It sets the rules for what the Jews can eat during the Passover, which is a holiday that they observe, lasting 7 to 8 days.
Drinking wine during the Passover Seder has a symbolic meaning in many Jewish households. On the first two nights of the holiday, each adult takes 4 cups of kosher wine. This represents and celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
What makes champagne kosher is how the grapes used are grown, harvested, and processed. To be kosher, the wine needs to be: made with grapes that were grown in an area with well-drained, fertile soil, with a high yield per acre. The wine also has to be thoroughly fermented.
The winemaking process of kosher champagne involves strict guidelines and a lot of precautions. For the most part, only a practicing Jewish person can touch the bottles. The process ensures that it meets kosher standards, with hygiene being one.
When it comes to fermentation, it’s given that champagnes require some sort of yeast. But the yeast used should be indigenous, and not come from mold that is grown on bread – thankfully most champagne producers are already able to use local indigenous yeast due to the long history of wine production in the area. Kosher wines can also contain preservatives such as potassium sorbate.
In some cases, a rabbi oversees the entire winemaking process, from crushing the grapes to bottling. He thoroughly purifies the equipment used for vinification and koshers the presses, vats, and pipes. His role is to ensure and certify that no non-Jews come in contact with the champagne bottles.
And with a team that is in charge of the vinification process guides the rabbi to ensure wine quality.
How To Know if Champagne Is Kosher
Kosher-for-Passover wines are always kosher for any time of year. And the best way to know if champagne is kosher is to carefully check the label of the bottle.
These products should have a label with a U placed inside a circle for Kosher. Some wines may even have a P next to the U for kosher for Passover. This symbol indicates that the wine does not have any other additives that aren’t consumed during Seder.
However, kosher champagnes can be labeled as mévushal (wine has been boiled or cooked) and non-mévushal.
When we say mévushal, it means that a non-Jew can open the wine bottle and will still be considered kosher. The mévushal process basically allows anyone to handle the wine. A mévushal wine has been heated to such a temperature that it the dietary laws allow it to be handled by non-Jews. One tradeoff is that, in some cases but not all, the mévushal process can alter the characteristics of the wine.
But when champagne is labeled as non-mévushal, in order to be consumed as a kosher product, the wine should be touched or handled only by Sabbath-observant Jews. If a non-observant Jew touches the bottle, the wine is said to lose its kosher status and is deemed ineffective for Seder.
List of Kosher Champagnes
Made from the purest grape juice, this “La Cuvée” offers freshness and is aged in the cellars for a long time. The blend of champagne is made from over 100 Crus.
It consists predominantly of Chardonnay grapes and is rounded out with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The pale gold champagne also contains between 15% and 30% reserve wines for the distinctive consistency of Laurent-Perrier.
On the palate, its fine bubbles give off a lasting froth. The delicate aroma of the wine introduces hints of fresh citrus and white flowers. It has a light dosage and goes well with your delicious charoset or any dish.
Vermilion gold in color, this non-vintage wine perfectly highlights Drappier’s distinct style. Crafted with a high heavy blend of Pinot Noir, this wine is a reflection of the Champagne House’s devotion to traditional, eco-conscious viticulture, just like their Blanc de Noirs.
Drappier Carte d’Or Brut sparkling wine consists of reserve wines aged in the cellars for extra depth with subtle dosage and minimal sulfur. It offers bouquets of ripe peach, apple, quince, and ginger aromata that are strong yet not overpowering.
On the palate, it reveals a broad texture and relaxed complexity. Each sip is balanced out by a tart finish. The wine is supposed to be just a basic, classic wine. But packs a punch. It’s best enjoyed with your favorite dessert during the Passover Seder.
Crafted using traditional methods, this rosé champagne boasts a beautiful hue of pale pink with salmon tints. The Chardonnay dominates the blend, which adds to the vibrance of the rosé. It also contains the best Pinot Noirs, which lends a subtle complexity. Both grapes are from 100% Grands and premier crus
The Barons de Rothschild Brut Champagne Rosé has medium bubbles that soothe the palate and offers a silky texture and tangy notes of bright citrus fruits. It boasts aromatics of fresh fruits, citrus, and white flowers.
With a very low dosage and careful aging process, it’s a great champagne that goes well with any special occasion.
This brut sparkling wine hails from the Cremant d’Alsace in France. It’s a kosher champagne for Passover that has a blend of equal percentages of the 3 grape varieties.
The bubbly is crafted using a traditional method, in which low-alcohol still wine is bottled with more yeast and sugar. The secondary fermentation and additional yeast create fine and creamy fizz. It pairs beautifully with summer apéritifs.
On the palate are notes of baked apples, gooseberries, and pears on the palate, as well as powerful, brisk acidity and a silky, quite long finish. The Koenig Crémant d’Alsace Brut awakens the senses with notes of citrus and crisp apple.
Here’s a Spanish sparkling wine that’s meticulously crafted to meet kosher law. It’s made from only the finest white grapes, which are gently pressed. What makes this Cava interesting is that only the first pressing is aged for 15 months to produce fruity and floral notes.
The Freixenet Excelencia Kosher Brut Cava has a subtle and lasting froth, with a lovely yellow hue and hints of green. On the palate, there’s a crisp acidity that balances its persistent and delicate floral notes. The intense notes of pear and granny smith apple blend perfectly with the delicate essence of white flower petals.
It’s a refreshing wine that pairs well with a range of food, especially glazed ham and chutney.
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut (Kosher)
Sometimes, good rosé champagne has an emphasis on capturing its aromatics rather than its color fusion. This wine is crafted with the house’s maceration (skin contact) technique, in which the wine is made for fragrance and not mixed for color. The same technique imparts a unique complexity and freshness.
The Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut is a blend of 100% Pinot Noir selected from 10 distinct crus spanning the Montagne de Reims’ northern and southern regions and the famous villages including Bouzy and Tours-sur-Marne.
On the nose, it offers vibrant fruity notes. A bit sharp but pleasant. The nose reveals an infusion of freshly picked red berries such as strawberries, wild cherries, and raspberries. It’s known for its exquisitely expressive bouquet due to the preservation of these natural fruit aromas.
On the palate, the wine boasts intense fruity flavors. It starts off clean and well-defined at entry but develops into a complex blend of notes. It has a long length and a rounded, soft finish and goes well with cured fish.
What Makes Wine Not Kosher?
Wine is a staple beverage on any occasion. But among Jews, it’s more than just a drink; it’s symbolic. The kashrut laws state that wine can’t be considered kosher if it was possibly used for idolatry. But beyond that, the Jewish dietary laws prohibit the use of leavened or fermented grain products.
Kosher table wines are produced using the same method used in non-kosher wines. Another factor that makes wine kosher is the involvement of a rabbi and Sabbath-observant Jews.
Champagnes can be made with or without kosher certification. So, the question of whether champagne is kosher is complicated, as it boils down to whether strict dietary restrictions and regulations are followed by the champagne house during production. In many cases, champagne houses will do separate production runs of non-kosher and kosher champagne..
We have looked into the factors at play in determining the kosher champagnes, but what’s more important is if the wine you’ve been eyeing aligns with your religious beliefs. If you’re looking for a kosher-certified wine, read the label.
We’ve compiled a list of kosher champagnes in this post so feel free to check out which ones tickle your palate. Our goal is to keep this list updated with the best kosher champagnes available, so if you know a great kosher champagne that we should add to the list, please reach out to let us know.