I am looking for a red wine recommendation. The Roman Rituale of the Catholic Church has a special blessing which is reserved for the Feast of St John the Apostle (December 27). The actual blessing for the wine can be found on this site (page 312).

Why is wine associated with St. John?

It is an old custom to drink of “St. John’s Love” by blessing wine on his feast day, December 27th. According to legend St. John drank a glass of poisoned wine without suffering harm because he had blessed it before he drank. The wine is also a symbol of the great love of Christ that filled St. John’s heart with loyalty, courage, and enthusiasm. - Gnostic Devotions.

Our Pastor is okay with the idea but has set down a few desirable traits he would like to see with the wine. The Wine should have the following characteristics:

1.The wine should be red, as a symbolic color of St John's martyrdom. Non-red wines will be considered too.

2.The price range should be no more than $20.00 a bottle.

3.The label should be modest and if possible make some sort of reference to St John if possible or some other religious theme, if a St John theme cannot be found.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

  • I fully realize it does not meet the first requirement, but the St John's Commandaria form Cyprus would be worth a thought (cyprusfoodndrinks.com/cgibin/hweb?-A=681&-V=authentics). Actually named by the Order of the Knights of St John, it is a delicious sweet desert wine of light brownish color and available for less than 20$.
    – Lying Dog
    Aug 24, 2016 at 12:44
  • @LyingDog Go ahead and pose an answer mentioning why you proposed this wine although it does not fulfill all the requirements and I show our pastor your response. Thanks.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 24, 2016 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


Ken, as you requested in your response to my comment, I post this as an answer:

Despite not fulfilling the first criteria, I suggest considering St John's Commandaria, a sweet desert wine made in Cyprus from white grapes.

From: A legendary wine

The Commandaria wine of today still bears the name of this area [Grande Commandaria, Limassol District], for the Knights of St John gave this name to the wine not only because it was produced in the villages that constituted the Order’s fief - the Commanderie - but also because knighthood was then held in high esteem among the Catholic countries of Western Europe and among pilgrims who, on their way to the Holy Land, stopped at Cypriot harbors for provisioning - which of course included the sweet Commandaria wine.

St John's Commandaria

The bottles are generally available for less than 20$ and bear what I believe is called the cross of St John. I have been lucky enough to have been introduced to its long history and the wine itself by a local enthusiast in Cyprus. I've also been impressed by its quality, which I consider outstanding for the price. It also would be an excellent sip after a good lunch or dinner, and as desert wine is typically drunk in smaller quantities than 'normal' red or white wine, the limited supply from a blessed bottle can be shared among more people.

  • My pastor thinks it is a worthwhile suggestion to keep in mind. Yes, the cross on the label is that of the Knights of St John.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 25, 2016 at 16:23
  • A red wine variety of this wine does exist. St. John Commandaria
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 10, 2018 at 12:44
  • @KenGraham I would encourage you to post your comment as an answer.
    – Eric S
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:12

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