Santa Maria Vineyard & Winery was established in 2005 by the John and Rose Guinan family. The vineyard, anchoring the endless acres of grain and livestock to the quaint village of Willey, Iowa, is located atop a picturesque hill in the shadow of the century-old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. It is here that the wine begins its journey from soil to vine; grape to Blessed Blood of Christ. While completing his courses for a master’s degree in Theology, John’s interest in wine took a new turn. As he began researching more about the altar wine process, he realized there were no specifications or information available about making altar wine according to canon law and commentary. As a result, the validaltarwine.com website was born, with information available to all.
Traditionally, wine was made by monks and nuns who took great care to ensure that there were no additives put into the wine, nor any process used which might render it invalid. Today, there is little information on the topic despite the fact that literally thousands of additives you could be added to wine: sugar, oak, compounds to raise or lower acidity, chemicals to change mouthfeel, etc.
Currently, most dioceses have an approved list of wines suitable for altar wine. Unless one speaks to the winemaker, however, adherence to the norms set for altar wine is an unknown. ValidAltarWine.com seeks to bridge that gap. With much diligent research, we have made wines in strict accordance with Canon Law, Church tradition, and have received ecclesial approbation from Bishop Walker R. Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City. The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (societyofourlady.net), receives half of all wine sales for development of their mission for Christ.