An organization growing vineyards and producing wine on Catholic cemeteries in California might sound random at first – but, when you dig a little deeper, it turns out it makes more sense than not. We all know how often wine is mentioned in the Bible – Jesus in fact uses wine when he performs his first miracle at the wedding in Cana.
The history of California wine is just as closely linked to Catholicism.
The first recorded planting of a vineyard was by a Jesuit Missionary in the 1600s, and it was Franciscan Missionaries who planted California’s first sustained vineyard at Mission San Juan Capistrano about 100 years later, under the direction of Father Junípero Serra. Father Serra founded eight other California missions that initially or eventually included vineyards and has been called the “Father of California Wine.” The first winery was built at the San Gabriel Mission, which remained the largest of the mission wineries for many years.
It seems only fitting that wine continue to pay homage to its rich, Catholic heritage here at Bishop's Vineyard.
On a side note, the Vatican recently declared Junípero Serra a saint – a decision made by Pope Francis that many thought was a controversial one.
“New Perspectives of the West, Junipero Serra,” PBS.org.
“Father of California Wine,” California Wine Advisor.