Is sacramental wine an Ontarian’s ticket to cheap booze? An atheist toys with the “province’s most glorious loophole”

Is sacramental wine an Ontarian’s ticket to cheap booze? An atheist toys with the “province’s most glorious loophole”

Sacrelicious: holy wine is hard to come by (Photo by Guillermo Viciano) 

“Sacramental wine may be the province’s most glorious loophole,” says Mark Schatzker in the Globe. He risked fire and brimstone recently by trying to buy wildly under-taxed vino from a religious supplies store near Pearson airport. The LCBO collects only 15 per cent on the 200,000 bottles of holy hooch sold each year—that’s one quarter its normal rate—making a three-litre jug of Burgundy ring in at $24.75. The catch, of course, is that the wine must be used for religious purposes; Schatzker, an avowed atheist, had trouble making up a scenario. “The bottom line, it quickly became apparent, is that without a signed letter from a deacon, rabbi or bishop, I wasn’t walking out with any wine.”

Apparently the LCBO has been cracking down on sacramental wine sales for non-religious purposes—a campaign that is sure to step up since Schatzker’s piece came out. We were going to sarcastically thank him for ruining it for the rest of us, but then we read his tasting notes for King David Sacramental Sweet Red: “Cloyingly sweet, with notes of grape Kool-Aid, Hubba Bubba, and high-fructose corn syrup.”

• An atheist’s search for sacramental wine [Globe and Mail]