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Wine for the seder

Red wine for the seder

The Passover seder calls for 4 cups of wine, one for each of the terms of redemptions: vehotzeti, vehitzalti, vega'alti, velakachti [taking out, saving, redeeming, taking] To represent the additional term of ve'heveti, [bringing in to the Promised Land] we pour an additional cup that we call kos Eliyahu, the cup of Elijah.

Wine is considered the preferred drink to toast with, and as you are consuming quite a bit, you'd be best off with one that is low in alcohol. I discovered a new variety that fits that description this year. It's Dolev Red Moscato with 5.5% alcohol. Though it comes with a screw top, it's not as cheap as the Rashi Light varieties (a good economical choice). The price range for this bottle is $8-$10, depending on where you buy it, so it's cost is just under Bartenura Malvasia, another good choice for those who like their red wine sweet and light. If you really cannot tolerate alcohol, you can substitute grape juice, which is now available in standard, sparkling, and freshly pressed varieties.

Key points to bear in mind in planning your wine and wine glasses:


It is traditional to serve red wine, but there is no extra credit for drinking dry wine. In fact, if you really enjoy white wine more than red, or if the white you have is a better wine than the red you have, then you should select white for yourself. You are supposed to enjoy the taste of the wine you drink at the seder, not pucker your mouth in distaste while you force yourself to swallow the minimum amount required.


The halacha [law] requires a person to take more than a mere sip. It is preferable to drink the whole cup or most of the cup. Also the cups are supposed to be filled to the brim, not to the 3/4 full point. If you use an 8 ounce cup, then you will have to drink just over 4 ounces, which will add up to over a pint of wine. if you have a smaller cup, you can end up consuming under a full cup and still have fulfilled the requirement of arba kosos [4 cups]. But it won't work to substitute a shot glass for a wine glass. The cup must hold at least a revi'is [the minimum measure for liquid drinks]. According to most opinion, a revi'is is 3.3 ounces. You can use a measuring cup to determine if the cup you intend to use meets the requirements.

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