Visit a California Monastery…for the Wine

In Northern California, 25 Benedictine monks have opened the first Roman Catholic Cistercian winery in North America.  The brothers hope to make money selling their syrah, a full-bodied red wine, in order to support the monastary. 

“We need to work to keep going, but we don’t want or expect to get rich. But the wine has done well – better than expected,” said Father Harold Meyer, who has been at the Abbey of New Clairvaux for 33 years.  “There’s a sacredness about working with grapes.  Wine is very special.”

The brothers’ living quarters are private; however, they have opened up the monastery for retreats, tours and wine-tastings.   If you’re staying for a retreat, the rooms are very basic; however, each has a modern ensuite bathroom.  Retreats must be booked months in advance, and are donation-based.

“People will come at first because we’re monks, but we want them to come back because this is a good place and we have quality goods to offer,” Meyer said.

Sounds positively peaceful.