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Grapes and Graves

posted on January 5, 2007

Grapes and graves may seem an unlikely combination, but Catholic cemetery officials in Hayward, California are cultivating a graveyard vineyard in hopes of making sacramental wine.

The vineyard actually began as a beautification project. Unused land at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery needed to be maintained. The local diocese opted to spend $25,000 for grapevines instead of $50,000 per acre for weed-free, irrigated turf.

Though initial plans call for the production of sacramental wine, it's possible that the product will be sold to raise funds for the diocese. There are even plans to expand the operation to include two other cemeteries.

The notion of church-operated vineyards isn't exactly new. Franciscan friars introduced wine grapes to California in the late 1700s.

Someday, the diocese may produce a Bishop's Private Reserve, which would be appropriate since Oakland's bishop is the Most Reverend Allen Vigneron. Vigneron is French for vine grower.

Tags: Catholics news religion wine