Dion Nissenbaum
McClatchy News (Blog)
December 9, 2008 - 1:00am

For 125 years, the Roman Catholic Cremisan Monastery near Bethlehem has been producing its own brand of wine to help fund its work in the West Bank.

The monastery recently started exporting wine to Europe, where it is used as communion wine.

This year, though, because of long delays in getting permission from Israel to export the wine, Cremisan exporters say they won't be able to get wine to Europe for Christmas.

“It is sad that this Christmas Christians are being denied the opportunity to be at one with the people of Bethlehem by drinking its wine," said Della Shenton, a Cremisan exporter in the UK. "The wine has always until now flowed across the borders of mistrust in this troubled land."

According to Cremisan exporters, Israeli officials delayed release of the wine for weeks, with one soldier telling them that it was being held as a "security risk."

"There is no sense with this stupid security check," said Amer Kardosh, a Cremisan exporter in Nazareth. "We deliver 80 percent of our wine to monasteries and it's stupid to say this is a security check."

After Cremisan made a public stink last week, Kardosh said Israeli officials gave the winery the OK to get out of the West Bank.

But Kardosh says it's too late to get it to Europe in time for the holidays.

It's a bad deal for Cremisan, but, to be honest, it may be a blessing in disguise for worshipers in Europe...

Sad to say, but Cremisan wine is, well, to be charitable, not very good.

Months and months and months ago, someone brought a bottle of Cremisan wine to a party at my home, and it has been sitting on the bar ever since. It has gone untouched through several parties where not even the drunkest of party guests has made a grab for the wine.

On the plus side, it is apparently organic!

Happy holidays!


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