The area along the Virgin River, known as Utah's Dixie, is ideal for the culture of grapes. To utilize the natural resources, provide a cash crop for the Dixie communities, and make wine to be used in the Sacrament service; Mormon Church leaders called several expert horticulturists and vinters to Dixie. Great amounts of wine were produced in Dixie. The Church became the largest producer due to the great amounts of grapes paid as tithing. Wine was used in the Sacrament, and was a common drink in Dixie.
The mines at Silver Reef were the principle market for Dixie wine. After they closed in the mid-1880's. Church leaders became aware of increasing numbers of cases of drunkenness among members and leaders. To combat this trend, the Church closed down its wine press, and preached abstinence from the pulpit. Dixie was unable to compete with cheap California wine. Moral pressure exerted by the Church and economic circumstances effectively ended the wine industry in Dixie although wine continues to be made on a personal basis to this day.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Lancaster, Dennis R., "Dixie Wine" (1972). Theses and Dissertations. 4862.
Wine, wine making, Utah, Mormon Church, History, 19th century