If I were going to choose the most beautiful winery setting in Colorado, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey would be in the top 3!! I wish I were a photographer, instead of a person with a camera, as my pictures to not do justice to the immense landscape and beauty of the Holy Cross Abbey, the grounds and the winery. I guess you will just have to go there and see for yourself….speaking of which, The Winery at HCA, has their annual Harvest Festival September 28-30 (more in another upcoming blog).
For all you history buffs, Holy Cross Abbey was founded in 1924 as a summer home for the Pope. Since that didn’t work out, The Abbey became a boy’s boarding school until 1985. Despite the school’s closing, the Abbey remained in operation as offices and housing for the monks until 2006. Today, there are guided tours on Saturday, self-guided tours during the week and accommodates for retreats, meetings and weddings.
So how did The Abbey get into the wine business? In 2001, the monks were interested in finding a way to support themselves during their advanced years. They contacted Sally Davidson and Matt Cookson, who owned a custom olive crushing business in California, called The Olive Press, and asked them to be consultants for a potential winery operation. Many events took place between 2002 and 2005, including an exorcism, but to understand the exact truth, you will have to ask Sally personally! In 2005, Larry and Diane Oddo, needing to escape NYC after 9/11, became a financial partner, along with Sally. Since then, the winery has grown and expanded under their leadership and the expertise of winemaker, Matt Cookson.
The Winery at HCA produces 15 different wines, which are all gold medal winners and sell out every year! Need I say more?? Their grapes come from their own vineyard (Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot), a prison in the area (22 acres producing 20-40 tons of grapes) and the Western Slope.
They just celebrated their 10th anniversary with the Holy Trinity: Revelation (a big, red Meritage), Jubilation (Reserved Cab and Merlot) and Divinity (a port-style wine). They produce exceptional, classic wines as well as numerous blends. Five different apple varietals compose their Apple Blossom wine. Their Wild Cañon Harvest is a blend of local growers’ grapes and is released every Thanksgiving, listing the names of the contributors. From sweet to dry, classics to blends, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey has wine for everyone’s palate.