The History of Wine at Assumption Abbey
The monks at Assumption Abbey became involved in the sale of table wines in the early
1960s as part of an effort to help fund education at the Abbey Schools.
While the Abbey seems to be famous throughout the region for making fine wines, it is a
reputation that has gotten a little ahead of the facts in the matter. The truth is the monks
have never made any wine, nor do wine grapes grow in this part of the world. In fact,
North Dakota is the only state in the union that does not grow any fine table wine grapes.
In the 1950's the Abbey allowed Brookside Winery of Guasti, California, to sell wine under
the "Assumption Abbey" label. The Abbey received a royalty for the use of its name. Labels
were printed in Germany, and the quality of the wines produced under this arrangement
was praised in many guides. In the mid-1980s the Brookside winery was sold to a food
conglomerate which planted a housing subdivision where once grape vines had
At that time the monks of made an arrangement with the San Antonio Winery of Los
Angeles. This winery uses grapes from the Sonoma County and Central Coast regions of
California. Now, Assumption Abbey Press prints the wine labels in Richardton; they are
sent down to California and they come back with wine bottles glued to them!
Much of the wine is bottled in gallons for sale as "altar wine." The Abbey sells its wines to
churches in a four-state area. As a sideline, the monks sell table wines from their wine
cellar in Richardton.
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