We are Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a Roman Catholic order of monks founded by Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen Harding in the year AD 1098. Today, we are commonly known as “Trappists.” With the ancient Rule of Saint Benedict as our guide, we offer hospitality to guests, serve in mutual charity, and live out our contemplative witness of silence, stillness and solitude in our often frenetic and busy world today.
The Cistercian way of life is strongly cenobitic, which means that each monk’s individual search for God always occurs within the monastic community. The monks of New Clairvaux Abbey have been drawn by Christ and have come to seek God within the contemplative life of a Cistercian community. Asked why the Cistercians lived in community, Blessed Isaac of Stella, monk and abbot in the 12th-century, replied: “Because we are not yet ready for solitude; and because if one of us falls he will have others to lift him up and thus, brother aiding brother, will be built up on high like a strong, fortified city; finally, because it is good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity.”
The purpose of the monastery is to bring the monks into close union with Christ, since it is only through the experience of personal love for the Lord Jesus that the specific gifts of the Cistercian contemplative vocation can flower.
The Abbey continues a long tradition of exceptional Cistercian viticulture, drawing on the inspiration of centuries of viticulture work by monks from the beginning of our Order in Burgundy, France in 1098. With a legacy that includes the development of some of the largest and most renowned vineyards of the Middle Ages, viticulture and winemaking innovations, and a reputation for producing the best quality product in the global wine industry, Cistercians of yesteryear push us to be the best wine growers possible.
The mission starts with our two estate blocks, Poor Souls and St. James. Both are 15 acres, and demonstrate the unique and dynamic terroir of Vina. St. James Block, overseen by and worked by the monks themselves, is certified organic since 2020, and reflects the monastic community’s desire to produce an excellent and wholesome product that respects and enhances the earth and the environment that we share with our neighbors and esteemed visitors.