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We must drink wine for kiddush, even four cups for Pessah. The Sages said "En simchah ella bebassar ve-yayin -- There is no rejoicing except with meat and wine".

But there are plenty of references attesting to the fact that wine in Talmudic times was frequently diluted with water. If your stomach does not tolerate wine well, is there a halachic limit to how much you can dilute it with water to fulfill your obligation?

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Shulchan Aruch 204:5 -

אבל יינות שלנו שאינן חזקי' כל כך אפי' רמא תלתא ואתא ארבעה אינו מברך עליו בורא פרי הגפן ונראה שמשערים בשיעור שמוזגים יין שבאותו מקום: הגה ובלבד שלא יהא יין אחד מששה במים כי אז ודאי בטל [אגור]

but our wines are not as strong as those, so even if one throws in three parts water, yielding four parts, one blesses Creator of the fruits of the vine. And it seems that this measuring out is with the measures of that place for mixing wine. GLOSS: as long as the wine is not as small a fraction of 1 one part in six parts of water, because then it would necessarily be overpowered by the water

The MB there explains in 204:29 and 32 that as long as it has the taste of wine and the local custom is to dilute it as such -

ובעינן רק שיהיה בו טעם יין שראוי לשתיה ע"י מזיגה זו ודרך בני אדם לשתותו במקום יין ע"י מזיגה זו דאל"ה אמרינן דבטלה דעתו אצל כל אדם

The Elya Rabba 204:10 says about the light wines of his day that mixing in water was a potential problem -

וכתב עולת תמיד ונראה דעכשיו אין נוהגין כלל למזוג יינות רפויים במים, אם נתערב מעט מים בו אפילו המים שנתערב בו הוא פחות מיין אפילו הכי אין מברכין עליו בורא פרי הגפן, מיהו למעשה צריך עיון, עד כאן

The Pri Megadim (Eishal Avraham 15) says it is permitted as long as the majority is still wine.

In Hilchos Shabbas B'Shabbas 1, page 385 he concludes that if the majority is wine, then even today, it would be permitted and he says R' Elyashiv agrees.

R' Chaim Kanievsky in Dror Yikra (Page 432) says that up to a third water is definitely permitted with todays wines, but he qualifies that it ultimately depends on the specific wine.

Rav Wosner in Shevet Halevi 10:42:9 says that even with todays wines one can put up to 5/6 water as long as the taste of wine is still discerned.

Rav Yitzchok Weiss in Minchas Yitzchok 8:14 says it depends on local custom to determine if it is still called wine.

Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul in Ohr L'Tzion 2:20:18 says that today since the manufacturers add in alcohol and other additives, it is preferable to keep the water to less than half.

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  • Thanks! What an array of opinions! (1) Can you pick? (2) If wine makes you feel uncomfortable, but does not threaten your life, are you allowed to go beyond these dilution guidelines? Jul 24, 2022 at 16:03
  • The Gemara says that there was an Amorah who’s head hurt from Pesach to Shavuos from the effects of the wine of the 4 cups. Ask you LOR for your particular circumstances but it’s not something to just make light of.
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 24, 2022 at 16:06
  • @Chatzkel That Amora didn't have grape juice available as an option.
    – Double AA
    Jul 24, 2022 at 16:06
  • You can use grape juice according to most poskim
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 24, 2022 at 16:06
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    @MauriceMizrahi In the off season.
    – Double AA
    Jul 24, 2022 at 17:17

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