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BRENDAN GALLAGHER is the owner of West Derby-based Gallagher Altar Wines, a family business which has been supplying churches across the North West for 50 years.
Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, said: "Churches in the Archdiocese of Birmingham have not and will not run out of altar wine this Christmas.
Church supply houses such as the Anglican Book Centre in Toronto or Hamilton's DiCarlo Religious Supply Centre are allowed by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to carry altar wine.
Early plantings were of Spanish grapes to produce altar wine.
The Cribaris began selling altar wine to the Quebec Liquor Commission about 1926 or so, and later on, after Repeal, beverage wines.
More serious is an Israeli embargo, which has prevented Cremisan table and altar wine from reaching markets in the United Kingdom and Germany in time for Christmas.
The troops banned 1,000 bottles of the altar wine - made at the Cremisan winery in Beit Jala - from passing through the Palestinian Hebron checkpoint into Israel.
There is now no Cremisan altar wine available for the churches, which include Catholic and Anglican parishes all over the UK, as well as larger establishments such as Ushaw College, Oscott College, Romsey Abbey, Worth Abbey and University chaplaincies.
But at the Fourth International Altar Wine Seminar, held recently in the Italian town of Cocconato d'Asti, the focus was on the positive.
Broadcaster Fr Brian D'Arcy said: "The rule at present is that it would not be a valid mass if regular altar wine, containing alcohol, was not used.
A top swimmer as achild,he was kicked out of a school for athletically gifted children for stealing altar wine on the last day of term.
A MAN who broke into a church and stole altar wine was jailed yesterday.
The pro-nuncio also complained about altar wine being stolen in Khartoum.
That if all you usually drink is altar wine yet feel each Christmas the need for an alcoholic buzz, go home and have a brandy snap.