There are many rituals for which we use wine. I would think that wine means a fermented grape product, or at least a fermented fruit product. On what basis do so many people use grape juice instead of wine for rituals like Kiddush? If there's a leniency to allow something similar to wine (viz, grape juice), why not other things that are similar to wine (e.g., fermented pomegranate juice (aka pomegranate wine) or plum wine)?

I know there are some times when we are less particular generally and allow whiskey or even orange juice.

I'm asking about those times when we are particular to have wine, yet we still allow grape juice, albeit sometimes begrudgingly. Why yes to grape juice and no to plum brandy?

I assume there must be some underlying principle that will explain both sides of this.

  • 3
    Can you give a reason why we shouldn't? (There are a few, but right now your question is quite lacking in justification to most readers.)
    – Double AA
    Sep 14, 2012 at 23:14
  • @double aa I hope my edit clarifies my intent. I don't think your answer works, unfortunately, but that's probably my fault.
    – Seth J
    Sep 16, 2012 at 1:35
  • 1
    I'm not sure what the problem still is. My answer shows that Yayin is not a fermented grape product but a grape product.
    – Double AA
    Sep 16, 2012 at 1:47
  • Right. Why, though?
    – Seth J
    Sep 16, 2012 at 2:01
  • 1
    Why? Because God said so? Why not?
    – Double AA
    Sep 16, 2012 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


The Gemara (Bava Batra 97b) says:

סוחט אדם אשכול של ענבים ואומר עליו קידוש היום
One can squeeze a cluster of grapes and say Kiddush on it.

The Shulchan Aruch rules this way in OC 272:2

So it seems that letting the juice ferment is not a prerequisite for ritual use.

  • M"T rules that way as well. We can make kiddush on either wine or grape juice as long as it mixed with anything other then water and it can not be mevushal.
    – Qoheleth
    Sep 19, 2012 at 17:53
  • Is there no principle other than "this is how the Gemara rules?" Nothing about the nature of wine or the nature of Kiddush?
    – Seth J
    Mar 31, 2014 at 21:17
  • @SethJ I guess you can say that the nature of wine is to be either fermented or not-yet-fermented? You are working with English definitions of "wine" and "grape-juice". Perhaps that distinction doesn't hold in Halacha?
    – Double AA
    Mar 31, 2014 at 23:36
  • The distinction between fermented and not-yet-fermented might not hold in the physical world either, since the process is always going on on some level (maybe at undetectable levels at first). The yeast spores are found everywhere in the atmosphere and would be present and active to some extent in any sample of grape juice exposed to the atmosphere on this planet, no matter how fresh the juice is (unless you pasteurized it).
    – paquda
    Apr 21, 2017 at 14:15

And the commentaries there suggest, as a source, the royal butler's dream (towards the end of Genesis) whereby he squeezes some grapes and immediately serves it to the Pharaoh.

Thus: any form of grape juice or wine is automatically fit for kiddush. A mixture of grape juice and water is fit for kiddush so long as its blessing is that of grape juice/wine. Whereas for any other beverage, you just have to determine if it's fit for a respectable guest -- thus for instance, good quality orange juice will cut it; diluted orange juice probably wouldn't.

  • 2
    Did you mean this as a comment on the other answer? (You start with "And the commentaries there".)
    – msh210
    Sep 16, 2012 at 8:08
  • Ok, but we're ok with with orange juice for Havdalah and whiskey for daytime Kiddush. But for the Seder, or a wedding or betnching, people are very particular to use "wine", but said wine seems to need to be a grape product, but does not seem to need fermentation.
    – Seth J
    Sep 16, 2012 at 12:32
  • @SethJ For havdala and daytime kiddush people use chamar medina instead of yayin. For the others they want yayin (which, as discussed above, is a grape product that isn't necessarily fermented). How we choose which require yayin and which can use chamar medina is a localized question to each.
    – Double AA
    Sep 16, 2012 at 15:00
  • My question is not what is valid for wine. My question is how come. By what principle did we get said definition?
    – Seth J
    Sep 16, 2012 at 15:19

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