West Sac Photographer

By Mitchell Lorens in West Sacramento, Ca.

Monastery at Vina, Ca. (Part 1)

One of the places I’ve thought about visiting many times is the Monastery at Vina, Ca.

The old cross over the orchard

You’re nearing the monastery

This is a community of Cistercian monks seeking God in a place they call New Clairvaux. Although I’ve heard of the monks at Vina, I’d never been to visit. So, where is Vina? It’s located between Red Bluff and Chico in northern Ca. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit. The monks live a life of prayer, labor and sustainable stewardship of the land. It’s obvious that a lot of care has gone into the immaculate orchards and accompanying  vineyard.

Same cross, different view

Same cross, different view

I’m sure I saw some stately old walnut trees in the orchard. The vineyard is really quite a nice affair as well. Here’s a photo looking over the vineyard to the new church they are building on the other side of the vineyard. This is not exactly the best photo but that is a new church being built off in the distance, so this is how you would first see it as you drive in.


That’s the new church over the vineyard there

Here is a little better photo of the new church. If you look inside (360° view inside new church + more photos I’ve posted on this Google Maps site) you’ll see a spectacular architectural work. I’m not kidding! I read where it’s a 6 million dollar structure. The monks have a lot of friends and people who donate.  Construction started in May of this year and it has the look of something you would find in ancient times in Greece or Rome or somewhere like that with all it’s pillars and columns. There is also a very interesting backstory about how some of the stones and pillars and pieces of columns came to be used in the new church. This is a very cool place! I’m not kidding… I recommend you visit that “Inside” link above. (But please DO return here… thank you)


That’s the new church on the left

Below is the New Clairvaux wine tasting room. And right behind from where I took the photo is a little museum. Sorry, no photos of the museum to post at this time. However, if you view the “Inside” link above you will see a photo of their little museum – as well as a few others I posted to Google.

The tasting room inside New Clairvaux winery

The tasting room inside New Clairvaux winery

Below is the old church  as I viewed it last week. Obviously this is a place of quiet and meditation so I thought it best to remain quiet and just take it all in for a while before I left. I love the wood in here. I think this picture captures that pretty well.

Inside the monastery chapel

Inside the monastery chapel

I thought I was alone in the chapel. However, I later noticed one of the monks sitting in quiet meditation.

A monk in meditation

A monk in meditation

I later asked if it was alright for me to be in there with my camera. He simply said, “Yes.” Still, though… I didn’t want to be the ugly tourist so I quietly slipped out and strolled around some of the grounds. Much of the monastery is for monks only. There are signs posted. “Monastery members only.” Something like that.

An archway over the compound

An archway over the compound

You’ll fine places like this little archway you can walk up to but not under. Not unless you are invited, I guess. Anyway, quite an interesting place. I’m looking forward to a return visit soon. I’m also looking forward to learning more about the monastery. Hopefully this gives you a little idea about what’s there. Once the new church is complete it should be nothing less than spectacular. That’s my little travel log for now. Be sure to visit my site at WestSacPhotographer if you wish to see more photos, different galleries or find out a little more about me. Till later!



3 Responses to “Monastery at Vina, Ca. (Part 1)”

  1. cristina61

    Very nice pictures (I like the inside of the chapel). I’m not really a wine person, but that does look like a cool place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. louise237

    Interesting post well illustrated… Monasteries have a special ambiance, whether wine or chocolate are being sold. I visited St Benoit du Lac in Quebec,which is also a gorgeous place. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rommel

    Whoa! How I’ve never heard of Vina before, given that California is technically my home state, even more so that this place seems so distinctive and interesting enough that I’m surprised this is the only time I’ve heard of it.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: