We're all for a big toast to the new Alabama Wine Trail, but apparently some teetotallers are feeling some sour grapes -- and giving Alabama another black eye, like the snickers we get for banning vibrators.
According to an Associated Press story that's popping up all over, the Alabama Wineries Association and the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association came up with the trail to attract visitor's to the state's wineries. But the Chilton Baptist Association has spoken out against it.
Tourist brochures, the story says, will list the eight participating wineries in the state, and visitors will get a "passport" to get stamped at each winery. Anyone who visits all the wineries will get a wine glass with the logos of each company.
We'd love to know more about this wine trail, but other than this AP story, a Google search doesn't seem to pull up anything official online. In fact, when you Google "Alabama Wine Trail," the first things that come up are the articles about the Baptist protest. The Alabama Wineries Association does not appear to have a working web site. The tourist group has a web site, but if there's anything on there about the wine trail, it's well hidden. We checked out the web site of Vizzini Farms Winery, which was quoted in the AP article -- nada. So we look forward to actually getting one of these brochures and enjoying some Alabama wine. We have had a viognier from Vizzini that was quite nice, which we picked up at Tria Market. (We've also seen Alabama wines at Whole Foods and even occasionally at Publix.)
There are eight wineries in Alabama, according to the state Department of Agriculture: Wills Creek Vineyards in Attalla, Morgan Creek Vineyards in Harpersville, Perdido Vineyards in Perdido, Bryant Vineyards in Talledega, White Oak Vineyards in Anniston, The Winery on Main in Clanton, Ozan Vineyards in Calera and Vizzini Farms Winery in Calera. (By the way, Ozan, also in Calera, is getting ready to release its Chilton County Peach, 06 Merlot, 06 Sangiovese, Shelby Blanc Scuppernong, and 06 Vidal April 17.)
Now I don't want to get into a theological discussion about wine, but even Billy Graham once pointed out that Jesus drank wine. In a Time magazine article in 1977 about new President Jimmy Carter saying he would not serve anything stronger than wine, Graham pointed out that Jesus miraculously turned six huge jars of water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2: 1-11). "That wasn't grape juice, as some of them try to claim," added Graham, reported Time.
And here are a few interesting insights on what the Bible says about wine, courtesy of the web site www.godandscience.org:
- "Go eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do," Ecl. 9:7
- "Thou doest cause the grass to grow for the cattle....and wine to gladden the heart of man," Psalm 104 14
- Most of Jesus' parables were about vineyards. He used wine and wineskins, and vines, and winepresses to illustrate spiritual points.
- John the Baptist did not drink wine (Luke 1:15 & 7:33), but Jesus did drink wine, and was even accused of being a drunkard. (Luke 7:34)
- Jesus gave wine the highest honour of representing His precious blood during the last supper, and asks His followers to use wine in remembrance of His death until He comes. (Luke 22: 18-20)