A Random Musing on the Possible Patrimonial Connections to Fine Wine

For the first time in what seems like ages, I have enjoyed a relaxing Saturday afternoon by myself.  With my wife "off with the girls" to enjoy a day of roller coaster adventures at a nearby theme park (a kinetic pastime that is ill-suited to the delicate mechanics of my inner ear1), I have been left to my own mischievous devices.

One of our little domestic customs is the collection of corks from wine bottles (though I rather think that archiving the labels would be more interesting2), and this afternoon I set about counting the little bits of elastic oak wood contained in a decorative, tiered, basket fruit stand perched upon the pie safe in our breakfast nook.

Bordeaux grapes from the 2009 harvest

The count was breathtakingly astonishing.  After some difficult calculations, I found that, were one to place, back-to-back, the corks remaining from the bottles of (rather fine, if I do say so myself) Bordeaux which I alone consume in a single year, they would stretch from here to the Moon and back fully twelve times!

Perhaps I misplaced a decimal here or there, but it remains an indisputable fact that a particular regional French wine constitutes a substantial slice of our family budget's proverbial pie chart.  Which got me to thinking — if only to justify my own more-than-medically-beneficial consumption of wine — what are the historical and cultural connections between fine alcoholic drinks and the Anglican Patrimony?

Though not a big fan of the stuff, certainly I know of the Methuen Treaty, and the resulting customary use of Port wine in the Anglican Communion Service (as I presume it was consumed most everywhere else in England around the time of the War of the Spanish Succession).  I have also heard tell of some connection between native Anglo-Catholic priests and gin (though the clergy here in America seem much more fond of uisge beatha).  I must admit, however, that my historical knowledge of "adult beverages" and their potential links with the Patrimony is wanting.

So, during the remaining few days of slow news, as the Church recovers from the "Dog Daies" of Summer and looks towards the erection of the Personal Ordinariate in the United States (and with God's grace in other countries too!) in the Autumn or early Winter ahead of us, I thought that I would open the floor to a discussion of fine wine, strong drink, and the Anglican experience.  What do you know about this dizzying subject?

1. In retrospect, the reasons for this incompatibility now seem obvious!
2. Advice on exactly how to do this would be appreciated (specifically liberating the labels from their bottles).

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organized the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He is also the CEO of Three Fish Consulting, LLC, an Information Technology consultancy based in Orlando, FL. He can be reached via email at ccampbell at threefish dot co.

14 thoughts on “A Random Musing on the Possible Patrimonial Connections to Fine Wine”

  1. Where the Protestant sun it's course doth run,
    there's nay much laughter and nay much fun.

    But where the Catholic sun doth shine,
    there's plenty of laughter, and good red wine.

    Hillaire Belloc.

  2. Christian – I am delighted to see a more whimsical piece on offer from The Anglo-Catholic. I pray we will continue to have more fun – a hall-mark of the Anglo-Catholic way of life.

    Now – on to more serious matters: Gin.

    While wine is certainly a staple of life, and no patrimonial table complete without its share of Claret, I find the drink that separates the men from the boys is the juice of the juniper. It is my customary ritual to take a Martini after the work day, and it is always a pressing concern to see what Gin a new friend prefers. Coming from clergy stock, no SSC or CCU meeting was complete without either a bottle of Tanqueray or Bombay. After a dalliance with Bombay sapphire, I have settled back down to the original Bombay with a half-cap of vermouth, lemon peel garnish. On special occasions I take Hendricks with a cucumber garnish. My godfather is a Boodles man, and I can find no fault there. If I had to name a patrimonial gin, I would go with Boodles.

  3. I do remember hearing that where two or three are gathered there is always a fifth. And St. Paul did advise that a little wine will assist in curing what ails you, which is advice I heed when I am feeling a bit woozy late in the day. Fortunately the Benedictine influence on Anglicanism exhorts us to moderation in all things, so a glass or two a day keeps us in this spirit of our patrimony. And I have heard we will live longer by drinking red wine, so I'm probably going to live past 100.

  4. WARNING: If you don't have a well-developed Anglo-Catholic sense of humor DO NOT follow the link below.


    It does touch on that quintessence of Anglo-Catholic refreshment, whereby whilst gazing upon the radiant countenance of Her Late Majesty Victoria reposing in resplendent glory upon a bottle of Bombay Blue Sapphire, we appreciate the essence of the juniper berry.

    My personal preference in martinis mirrors that of Sir Winston Churchill. The Martini is shaken, not stirred, and all the vermouth that is required is to merely gaze across the room at the bottle!


  5. Christian –

    Thanks for providing the context for the parody – it may well prevent some feigned righteous indignation!

    One of the great things about being in a "nose-bleed high" parish is getting a true vision of the great fun Anglo-Catholics can have at their own expense.

    Dry humor is esteemed. I am reminded at the time we got some new silk cinctures and one of the Sacred Ministers did not tie his tight enough.

    As he moved from the Missal to the right of the priest at the commemoration of the Faithful Departed in the Canon, the cincture somehow ended up slowly falling and stopped about his knees!

    A nearby server was heard to say "Oh, how very high church indeed!" While a reproachful glance from the MC may have stopped the near chuckle – we all got a good laugh afterwards.


  6. I have very fond memories of Parish Dinners when I was Episcopalian. The evenings began with Mass, then continued in the Dining Room for wine before (and during) dinner. Being a convert from (tee-totaling) Presbyterianism at the time, I quickly came to appreciate Episcopalians' ability to enjoy all of God's great gifts, including wine, good food, and friendship. I felt truly at home and with "kindred souls." Now that I am Catholic, I hope to find that again within an Anglican-Use parish, if there is one nearby.

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