Drinking Sacramental Wine January 23, 2010

Drinking Sacramental Wine

Mark Schatzker of Ontario, Canada discovered a loophole when it came to buying wine in the area:

Sacramental wine may be this province’s most glorious loophole. This sacred tipple, which is no different from regular wine -– it isn’t blessed or grown on holy land or anything like that -– is hardly tainted by the profane hand of government taxation. About 200,000 bottles of sacramental wine bottles are sold every year in Ontario, and the LCBO collects a mere 15 per cent on each one, which is about a quarter of the tax charged on bottles of ordinary non-sacred vino.

So, theoretically, if someone had plans to buy wine, they would be saving money by buying sacramental wine instead of “regular wine.”

But there was a problem…

A balding monkish type approached me. “Is there anything particular you’re looking for?” he said.

“Candles,” I said. The man nodded. “And sacramental wine.” He led me to the back of the room.

The man suggested a bottle called Burgundy. (“A full-bodied, medium dry red wine with a rich, pleasing taste.”) A three-litre jug was going for $24.75. “I’d like one of those,” I said.

That’s when the trouble began.

“What is the purpose of the wine?” the man asked.

While he’s at it, I’m sure he can find communion wafers at a discount, too. Put some peanut butter on them and you have a quick nighttime snack.

(via The Globe and Mail)

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  • Eliza

    Interesting article – I never thought about where the wine for communion came from. Why would there be different varietals? I was going to say, shouldn’t it just all be generic cheap “red wine” but obviously the “cheap” part would not go over well for this sacred purpose.

    Which gets me to wondering: What varietal of red wine might correspond best with Jesus’s blood type? What blood type would Jesus have had? And, of course, the big one: what would his karyotype have looked like?

    And, leaping into only vaguely related territory: Wouldn’t the perfect Easter dinner for a devout Christian family be a few loaves of French bread and a big jug of sacramental Burgundy? Maybe some sips of water off of a sponge? WTF with the bigdinner including ham or lamb??? (Jesus = sacrifical lamb of Pesach?

  • joe

    al bundy and no ma’am were way ahead of him


  • JJR

    When I was still attending the Presbyterian church, the outer rim was filled with grape juice for the kiddies and alcoholics, and the wine in the inner rim was actually a cheap, grocery-store bought pink blush wine that was deliberately visually contrasted with the grape juice. No incantations spoken over it or other woo-woo, the Presbyterian Pastor made no bones about it being anything other than purely symbolic. We also got real/fresh baked bread, too, which was pretty kick ass.

    I wonder if any churches use Kosher wine?
    Y’know, little hat tip to Jesus’ Jewish origins?

    It’s funny to remember I was actually confirmed in the Presbyterian Church even though I didn’t believe a word of what I professed to believe…just going through the motions to please the adults around me.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Again, an example of religious privilege where non is needed, and essentially a tax on the non-religious.

    Every time they get a tax break on their private club, for that is what it amounts to, that’s less tax dollars to help everyone in the province or country.

  • Pony

    “There’s trees here, there’s rocks, there’s boyds, there’s Squrrls. C’mon! Let’s bless them all until we get verschnicket!” – Rabbi Tuckman

  • Claudia

    While he’s at it, I’m sure he can find communion wafers at a discount, too. Put some peanut butter on them and you have a quick nighttime snack.

    Erm, I know you’ve been to churches Hemant, but have you ever had a communion wafer? I ask this because there perhaps exists no single edible object on the face of the planet that has less taste than a communion wafer. Not my pick for party snacks.

  • ObAphasia: I read that as sacrificial wine.


  • Erm, I know you’ve been to churches Hemant, but have you ever had a communion wafer?

    I guess I’m lucky I was never Catholic (well, aside from the obvious reasons). As I recall from my sampling of various Protestant churches, the Anglicans served the same compressed styrofoam kind that the Catholics do (though note: the Anglican majick doesn’t turn them into Jesus), but the rest were a variety of: matzoh fragments, standard Saltine fragments, odd little dough pills baked hard, off-the-shelf croutons, diced store-bought white bread, and real home-baked loaf from which you tore a piece. (The last was the practice of a minister friend of mine, who also loved baking, and is very good at it. I’ll gladly break his bread, any time).

  • JB Tait


    As far as I could tell, communion wafers were indistinguishable from the least expensive, paper thin, flavor-free goldfish food wafers that used to be available at department stores and carnivals.

    This means they are merely equal to the one thing that might have provided less taste.

  • Erp

    During US Prohibition, sacramental wine was still legal.

  • How much wine is in 200,000 bottles of bottles?

  • littlejohn

    If you’re just going for the wine, go to the nearest Episcopal (Anglican) church. They don’t scrimp on anything.
    However, they do give you a little Styrofoam disc when it’s time to eat Jesus’ body.
    And Erp is right, priests could legally purchase wine during Prohibition – which they did, in quantities far exceeding the needs of any conceivable religious service.

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