Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Sacramental Wine
Sacramental Wine QUESTION from Jeff on February 21, 2002 With regard to the earlier question, here is the understanding I have gathered:
Most commercially available wines include sulfites or sulfiting agents. This is added before the wine is fermented to destroy any bacteria present in the must (unfermented wine), since, while yeast turn the sugars into alcohol, the bacteria would consume the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid (vinegar). Of course, early wines did not include such substances, but relied upon the alcohol content of the finished wine to prevent the growth of bacteria. However, early winemaking was also a very dicey business, and the early vintner would frequently found himself the posessor of a batch of vinegar, due to bacteria that were in the must before the alcohol content had a chance to develop.
The point of all this is that wine made without sulfiting agents , on the one hand, could be quite expensive due to the risk of losing batches at a time without the sulfites to protect them. On the other hand, wine made with sulfiting agents, in addition to being a problem for those with athsma in the congregation who want to recieve the precious blood (sulfiting agents tend to aggravate athsma), some contend that putting such preservatives adulterates the wine, thus making it unfit for sacramental use.
I do not know if there is any official word on this issue, but most wines do, in addition to fermented grape juice, contain these preservatives.
Thank you for being a voice of loyalty in the midst of a world of people who reject authority other than their own.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on March 2, 2002 Dear Jeff,
Thanks for the info. Not being a wine expert myself I found it very interesting. I also am not aware of any official allowance of sulfites so I presume that these added preservatives would make wine unfit for sacramental use.
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