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Specifications for Altar Wine for the maker

Specifications for Altar Wine for the maker

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Published by: Quo Primum on Jul 16, 2008
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Child Jesus and St.

Joseph Catholic Church
Society of St Pius X

280 West Botany Street Rockdale NSW 2216 Australia Tel. 02-9567 7088 Fax: 02- 9567 3228
10 June 2005 Dear Paul, Here are the traditional rules for altar wine. Please tell me if the supply we are getting conforms to these rules. Thank you very much. Fr Robinson

Specifications for Altar Wine Rules from the Vatican
a) Altar wine must be natural wine from the fruit of the vine and not corrupt. b) In order that wine may be valid and licit matter for consecration, it must be wine, which has been pressed from fully ripened grapes, which has fermented, which has been purified of sediment or dregs, which has a vinous alcoholic content of around 12%, which has not been adulterated by the addition of any non-vinous substance, which is neither growing nor grown bad by acescence or putrefaction, and which, is in a liquid state. c) The following substances are certainly invalid matter for consecration: wines made from fruits or berries other than grapes; artificial or synthetic wines, even if they have the color and taste of natural wine produced from grapes and even if they have the same chemical ingredients as natural wine; wines to which an equal or almost equal amount of water has been added; wines made from thoroughly unripened grapes; wines turned to vinegar; wines gone thoroughly bad; wines devoid of alcohol; wines to which a notable quantity of sugar in solution was added before fermentation; unfermented grape-must which has been inspissated by boiling to about one-half or one-third of its original volume; brandy; pure vinous alcohol; all non-vinous beverages.

d) After-wines are also invalid matter for consecration, if a large quantity of water was added to the grape-husks from which the wine was then made; after-wines are wines made from a second pressing of the grape-husks. If the water added was more than outweighed by the amount of juice remaining in the husks after the first pressing, an after-wine would be doubtfully valid matter for consecration and cannot therefore be used. e) The following substances are valid matter for consecration, but gravely illicit except in a case of real necessity: unfermented grape-must; wine turning to vinegar or beginning to go bad; wine not purified of sediment or dregs; wine in a frozen state; wine which has been given a bouquet by the addition of a small quantity of aromatic essence; wine to which no water or to which water distilled from roses or other plants was added at the Offertory (M.R.: DE DEF., iv, 2; x, 11; THEOL MOR.: II, N. 111). f) If a wine has been made from grape-must inspissated by boiling, it may be licitly consecrated, provided that fermentation took place (HOLY OFFICE: MAY 22, 1901). g) Raisin wine may be licitly consecrated, provided that it has the taste, color, and bouquet of natural wine; raisin wine is wine made from grapes that have been left to dry after ripening and before fermenting (HOLY OFFICE: JULY 22, 1706; MAY 7, 1879). h) To preserve a weak altar wine longer, it is licit to fortify it by the addition of alcohol, provided that the alcohol has been distilled from grapes, that it is added to the wine when active fermentation has begun to subside, and that the total alcoholic content of the wine when thus fortified does not exceed 12% (HOLY OFFICE: JULY 30, 1890; JUNE 25, 1891). i) To keep a weak wine from spoiling, it is licit to boil it to a temperature of 65" centigrade; this expedient is preferable to that of adding brandy to the wine (HOLY OFFICE: MAY 4, 1887; CONG. SACR.: INSTR. OF MARCH 26, 1929 AD I). j) If extra-sweet altar wines must be transported by sea, it is licit to keep them from spoiling by raising their natural alcoholic content to a total of 17% or 18%, provided that the alcohol added has been distilled from grapes and that the addition is made when active fermentation has begun to subside (HOLY OFFICE: AUG. 5, 1896). k) Naturally tart wines may be consecrated licitly. But it is not allowed to correct this tartness by the addition of any extraneous substance (HOLY OFFICE: APRIL 27, 1892). l) Altar wine may be either red or white, though the former is less desirable because of the danger of staining the altar linens (EPH. LIT.: LV, P. 74 AD 11). With white wines, however, care should be taken at the Offertory, lest the wine and water cruets be mistaken one for the other. m) Altar wine should not be left for any length of time in open vessels, since thus the wine can more easily turn to vinegar and since some of it may be stolen and replaced with water (CONG. SACR: INSTR. OF MARCH 26, 1929 AD I). n) To make certain that bought altar wines are valid and licit matter in every respect, they shall be procured from those whose knowledge of the above requirements and whose skill and honesty are above all question and suspicion; religious, who specialize in the production of altar wines, should therefore be preferred to seculars. Those entrusted with the custody of the altar wine should also be of known reliability (CONG. SACR: INSTR. OF MARCH 26, 1929).

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