Locally produced for you

May 25, 2011

The day before my wedding, I picked up ten cases of table
wine from a local winery--and one bottle of sweet wine for communion. The folks
at the winery had encountered local-food enthusiasts planning receptions before,
but the communion thing seemed to surprise them. "My son always says this
tastes just like altar wine!" said the woman who rang me up. "That's great that
you're actually going to use it for
that!"

Opinions vary as to what makes a good communion wine, but
the overall quality of the wine itself isn't usually at the top of the list. So
even if you're among those who turn their noses up at wine from lesser-known
regions--and, judging from the far-flung wine lists at even the most
obsessively local-food-oriented restaurants, this is a sizable group--buying
local for the Eucharist seems like a great idea.

The Canadian Centre for Ecumenism is partnering with a nearby vineyard to make
this happen in Catholic dioceses across Quebec. Instead of buying altar wine
shipped all the way from California, churches in the province will be able to
buy a sweet white, relabeled "Vin de messe," directly from Domaine des Côtes
d'Ardoise in Dunham, Quebec.

The Quebec effort required the bishop of the vineyard's
local diocese to authenticate the wine for sacramental use per canon law. For
those of us in denominations that don't limit the types of wine that may be
used, this would be even easier to do.

Is anyone doing this already, or has anyone looked into
it and decided not to? What would you say are the pros and cons?