Wine Articles

Sacramental Wine for Sale

Wine and religion go a long way. For celebrations, sacraments and other rituals, wine has been an important part for many traditions. In the Roman Catholic tradition, wine is consumed in the ever important sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

There is even a patron saint of winemaking, actually there are three of them. It is either St.Vincent or St. Martin of Tours or if you are Bulgarian, St.Trifon the Pruner. And possibly the most famous champagne in the world was inspired by a mendicant Benedictine monk. Dom Perignon did contribute greatly to the sparkling wine history of France, but the actual Dom Perignon flavor was not his.

During the time of Prohibition, sacramental wine was one of the few legal types of alcohol that could be consumed. A winemaker who prospered during this period was Santo Cambianica, who emigrated to Los Angeles and founded the San Antonio Winery, named after St. Anthony. There he developed his legal sacramental wine from his winery in Los Angeles.

Fast forward to today and the San Antonio winery has become an institution in the city of Los Angeles. Wineries were abundant in the city prior to Prohibition, with over 90 established. By the time Prohibition was repealed, only half a dozen were left. And the only one standing today is the one started by Santo Cambianica.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has long been an institution among Angelenos and immigrants mostly coming from Mexico and Central America. And for quite some time, the wine used by the church came from the San Antonio winery. And when the new Cathedral of the Angels was built for the new millenium, a wine from the San Antonio was introduced.

The Angelica red and white wines were produced for new parishioners to the Cathedral. About 15% of what the winery produces is for church use. There are also roses, Muscats and other reds that are used for ceremonies. And as the palette of the church and its parishioners change, so too has San Antonio’s wines -- their flavors have gone to a more lighter weight and taste to appease the majority.

It’s wonderful to see a winery flourish in the middle of the metropolis that is Los Angeles. Even though they get their grapes trucked in, the methods and the product remain the same. Don’t worry about not being Roman Catholic, you still can enjoy these sacramental wines as they are on sale at the winery and at the Cathedral.

Image credit: Omar Barcena on Flickr

 

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