‘Mormon Land’: Brigham’s wine mission — How it thrived, what it produced, why it became a problem and ultimately died

Unlike today, the faith’s Word of Wisdom was different then. Latter-day Saints made — and drank — wine for home and church services.

(Virginia Mayo | AP) This 2014 photo shows grapes growing on the vine in France. But southern Utah also was home once to a thriving wine industry, one commissioned by Brigham Young of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For today’s faithful, believing, temple-recommend-carrying members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sipping a Chardonnay with their salmon entree would be unthinkable, off the table, a no-no.

They know that the faith’s Word of Wisdom health code strictly forbids consumption of alcohol.

But there was time in the church’s history when teetotaling wasn’t the order of the day. In fact, there was a time when Latter-day Saints not only drank wine but also produced it, sold it and profited from it — all with their prophet’s blessing and encouragement.

Indeed, southwestern Utah’s pioneer past was home to a church “wine mission.”

On this week’s show, Lindsay Hansen Park, a blogger, podcaster and executive director of the Sunstone Education Foundation, discusses Brigham Young’s wine mission — its roots, the success it enjoyed, the product it produced, the problems it encountered (and engendered), and the ultimate demise it met.

Listen to the podcast: