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Holier Than Thou

Have you ever wanted to have more than just a sip of some sacramental wine to really see what it tastes like?? …

Non-blessed of course ;)

I am going to assume that I am not the only wine drinker who has gotten that urge to be “holier than thou” and throw back some good ole sacramental wine.

I wanted to do this right, so while I was back home in the states, I consulted a local church and asked them what their protocol was on acquiring their sacramental wine for church services. The church receptionist seemed to be a little reluctant to offer up that information, but luckily I used my witty actor/ninja skills to pretend I was a “sacramental wine marketer” who wanted to revolutionize the industry and that I needed the name of her supplier. So I called up the supplier and then pretended I was a church receptionist needing a sample of some sacramental wine and they bought it!! In about a week I got a sample in the mail!! Naturally I needed witnesses so I called up some heathen friends of mine to partake in this “religious” experience.

Ok, so I totally made up that story, but I did get me-sticky-little-paws on some “approved for sacramental use” wine and did a little light research on it. I found out that:

  • the wine must be naturally fermented with nothing added to it, made from grapes of the vine, and not be corrupt (i.e. soured or vinegar-ed).
  • To conserve weak and feeble wines, and in order to keep them from souring or spoiling during transportation, a small quantity of spirits of wine (grape brandy or alcohol) may be added, provided the following conditions are observed: 1.) the added spirit (alcohol) must have been distilled from the grape, 2.) the quantity of alcohol added, together with that which the wine contained naturally after fermentation, must not exceed eighteen per cent of the whole and 3.) the addition must be made during the process of fermentation.
  • Throughout the world there are some wineries that exist either solely for the production of sacramental wines, or with sacramental wines as an auxiliary business. The same is true of wine used by other religions, e.g., kosher wine. These wineries are small and often run by religious brothers, priests or dedicated laity.
  • The oldest still-producing vineyard founded for sacramental wine production in the United States is O-Neh-Da Vineyard in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York State, founded by Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid in 1872.
  • SOURCE: Wikipedia Article on Sacramental Wine
The heathens and myself decided to strike a few “religious” poses =)

The wine facts were as follows:
Mont La Salle Altar Wine Company
Pure California ‘Tokay’
Approved for sacramental use, 18.0% by volume
from Sanger, California
(totally check out their website)

The ‘Tokay’ Grape from California used for the above sacramental wine has no relation to the Tokay dessert wine from Hungary nor the ones produced in France and Italy. The Californian ‘Tokay’ Grape is said to be native to Algeria and was planted in Lodi, California for the first time in 1847. Americans started making dessert wines when Prohibition ended and decided Tokay, being the name of the famous Hungarian dessert wine, was as good a name as any to use. (Much like the US’ generic use of Burgundy and Chablis) After that, the name got applied to the grape as well that they used for making their wine.

The sacramental wine looked and smelled like a white port, but definitely not as good as the white ports I have tasted. This one was kinda….MEH meets UGH. I suppose this is one wine that is better left to be sipped on….once a week if your good ;)

Ah, well! At least I got “throwback (non-blessed) sacramental wine” checked off my list of wines to try. =P

Vinously Speaking, Vinously Yours & Holier Than Thou,
The Ceci Sipper

3 thoughts on “Holier Than Thou

  1. i was attending mass recently (holier than thou) and loved the vino. so much so that i peeked in the cupboard when everyone exited the small chapel and wrote down all the info and……. guess what? when i just now typed it into google (mone La Salle alter wine, pure calif TOKAY) your article came up. what a refreshing surprise of humor, scammery and information! i think the stuff is yummy… like you said for sipping when you’ve done all your chores for the week or are feeling a need to be blessed. not with a hearty french country stew. anyhow, you did not say if you can buy it but now i’m off the their website and will PRAY that one does not have to be a church to purchase. if so perhaps you can help me develop a story to convince them of my purity of spirit as a middle person vendor?????

    thanks for this bit of wonder; please add me to your blog so i can read more of such delightful investigations.
    all the best, vinously speaking vickah

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