Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sacramental Wine During Prohibition

Did you ever wonder where priests got wine for Mass during prohibition?

Mission San Antonio in California


Prohibition in the United States was in place from 1920 to 1933. Basically, prohibition made the manufacture, sale, import or export of intoxicating liquors illegal.  Wikipedia has a page that gives more details.

Dumping illegal booze during prohibition

What did the Catholic Church do about Communion wine during prohibition? What happened to the wineries that had been flourishing in California? Both of these stories are intertwined.
Sadly, during prohibition, many wineries went out of business. However, the lucky ones who got contracts with the Catholic Church to make sacramental wines survived or even flourished. You see, alcoholic beverages for medicinal and sacramental use were exempt from the ban.

Wine press

That's the story in a nutshell. To learn more go to this article in the American Catholic and this one at the Straight Dope.

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