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Dutch nuns launch campaign to shift 60,000-bottle wine surplus

A convent in The Netherlands is packed to the rafters with wine after “an extremely” hot and dry summer left them with an excess of bottles.

Sister Maria Magdalena of Sint-Catharinadal in Oosterhout in the southern Netherlands has issued a video appeal to help the convent shift a surplus of wine following a bumper harvest.

According to Sister Magdalena, a local farming organisation is helping the nuns to sell their wines both online and via the convent’s cellar-door, with bottles of their 2022 white blend (a mix of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Alsace variety Auxerrois Blanc) going for €14.50 a pop.

Bottles of the nuns’ Pinot Noir/Gamay rosé blend are also selling for the same price.

Around 5,000 bottles of wine have been sold so far.

“We had a lovely summer last year, warm temperatures, and it promises to be an excellent harvest of more than 60,000 bottles ,” explained Sister Magdalena as to why the convent had so much wine available.

Having started making wine in 2014 to fund the maintenance of the convent’s buildings, the nuns had allegedly been promised a deal with KLM airlines in 2020 to sell their wines. However, the deal did not go through, leaving them with an excess of stock.

Thibaud van der Steen, co-founder of organisation Breda Maakt Mij Blij, which helps producers, farmers and growers sell excess goods, said the nuns called him a few weeks ago to ask for help.

As reported by The Guardian, van der Steen recalled: “They phoned saying ‘We have so much wine we don’t know what to do with it, and we are having problems with the energy crisis in a badly insulated building’. So we made a video and set up a campaign for them.”

Van der Steen added that “Nowadays, Dutch wine is almost always good” and confirmed that “This is a wine with a story.”

Speaking on why the convent decided to make wine rather than the more traditional beer often made by those belonging to a Holy Order, Sister Magdalena told the Dutch press:

“We didn’t find beer in a convent to be appropriate. Wine fits better. It is biblical and it points to Jesus.”

Sint-Catharinadal is not the only church experiencing challenging times when it comes to booze. Earlier this year, db reported that Belgium’s Trappist beers are at risk due to fewer people feeling the call to become a monk.

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