For my mom's birthday (not until December) she wanted to go see the monks out in Vina (between Chico and Red Bluff) and their little winery, New Clairvaux. Neither Chris or I had been, though the 'rents were members of their wine club and had gone out multiple times, so we thought it sounded like a great idea and made plans with mom to go out before the weather turned and before my surgery. They open the tasting room at 11:00 am so we had mom meet us at 10:30 am at our house and then headed out.
After going through their little hall of information about their monastery and winery, we bellied up to the bar for some free wine samples as poured by resident monks.
Once we were sufficiently buzzed, we got the low-down from the friendly gal at the cash register about where we could wander and where we couldn't. Armed with a loose understanding of what we were doing, we headed down a marked path until we came across a quaint little church that was open to visitors.
Next door to the church was the Sacred Stones project which is the reconstruction of an 800 year old Chapter House from a monastery in Oliva, Spain.
They've only constructed a small portion of the total project, but when completed, will be absolutely magnificent. Sierra Nevada brewery paired with the abbey and will be working on Trappist-style abbey ales for 2011, proceeds of which will go to the abbey to help fund their project. From the Chapter House we headed over to a section of the property set aside for people on retreat. There was bookstore and chapel that guests could walk through.
We really enjoyed our visit and our wine tasting. The weather was perfect and since we were there right when they opened we had the place to ourselves for a while. Good pick mom, good pick.