Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wine, Freedom and Justice Part 2—New Clairvaux Vineyard

As the situation in Iran begins to look less hopeful, we continue our musings on wine making as a tool for world betterment (see below for the first entry on the subject).

We imagine that the New Clairvaux Vineyard, owned by a Cistercian Abbey, is non-profit. The "Our Vision" page of the website states that their goal is to "create a memorable wine experience" and to "produce extraordinary wine." Laudable, and please see the Monastery's Abbot's comments, below, for a description of their mission and the many projects the income from the wine supports.

The winery is in Vina, California, not far from Chico. Reds range from $13-$36, and whites from $15-16. Aimee Sunseri, a former classmate of ours from the UC-Davis Viticulture & Enology program, is the winemaker.

The lineup of wines is quite interesting, and their prices attractive. Whites include Albariño, Vigonier and Trebbiano, and the reds are Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Syrah, and a blend that includes some Cabernet from Napa Valley. The principal vineyard is located on the site of Leland Stanford’s ambitious but failed effort, which was the largest vineyard in the world in 1890.

We have not tried the wines but look forward to doing so. We welcome your thoughts on winemaking and world changing.


  1. I am the abbot of the monastery in Vina. Following the Rule of St. Benedict we Cistercians are obliged to be self- supporting. Hence the purpose of the winery/wines along with our other means of income. We believe that our labor gives glory to God and so make the best products possible for this purpose. If our products are successful, and we hope they are, it is because of this need to give glory to God in all things. We hold all things in common and believe that this is part of the radical nature of the Gospel for us. Our income supports not only us but all the many guests coming to seek our hospitality in the form of retreats, days of recollection, and prayer. Our livlihood enables as well to practice generous almsgiving in the form of many charities,local and international. For example we support the Corning Christian Assistance program, The Salvation Army, as well pay utility, water, and rent bills for many neighbors without means to pay. In other words our products support us and the many spiritual ministries and outreaches to the benefit of many.
    Abbot Paul Mark Schwan, OCSO

  2. Thank you, Abbot, for explaining the work and deeds of your monastery. Your programs are indeed quite humanitarian. We are glad that your wine production helps to fund your efforts, and we look forward to helping through buying your wines. Thank you for finding us and for sharing your comments.


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