Holy Cross Abbey (Cañon City, Colorado)

Coordinates: 38°26′56″N 105°12′03″W / 38.4489°N 105.2008°W / 38.4489; -105.2008
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Holy Cross Abbey
Rear view of the former abbey
Monastery information
Full nameAbbey of the Holy Cross
Other namesPriory of St. Mary (former name)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Established1886 (1886)
Dedicated toExaltation of the Holy Cross
Heritage designationNational Register of Historic Places
Designated dateAugust 18, 1986
StyleGothic Revival
Completion date1925
Coordinates38°26′56″N 105°12′03″W / 38.4489°N 105.2008°W / 38.4489; -105.2008

The Abbey of the Holy Cross in Cañon City, Colorado, is a former monastery of the Order of St. Benedict in the United States.[1] It existed for nearly 120 years, operating such various enterprises as a boarding school for boys and a winery. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.



Two Benedictine monks were sent in 1886 from St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and traveled to Breckenridge, Colorado, to establish a monastic community in what was still frontier territory.[2] They went at the invitation of Joseph Projectus Machebeuf, then still the Vicar Apostolic for Colorado and Utah.[3] Their first foundation was the Priory of St. Mary in Boulder.[4] Other monks followed in ensuing years.

The growth of the community led the community to move to Cañon City in 1924, where a larger monastery was built in the Gothic Revival style. The house was raised to the status of an abbey at that time, and it assumed a new name. A boarding school was opened at the abbey, and initial attempts were made at establishing a winery, which were not pursued at the time.[5]

Like other religious communities in the United States, the abbey saw its numbers prosper during the 1950s and 1960s, only to see a steep decline begin after that. The abbey school was closed in 1985.[2]

By the early 2000s, the community was composed of about 20 monks, mostly elderly.[6] In an effort to find a means of income for themselves, in the year 2000 the monks decided to return to the idea of planting a vineyard again. They entrusted the production to a professional viticulturist who began to produce wine the following year.[5]


By the year 2005, however, it was determined that the monastic community was no longer viable and, in a final chapter meeting, the monks voted to dissolve it.[1] They found homes for themselves in various other monasteries, and the abbey was closed the following year in september of 2006.[2]

Winery at Holy Cross Abbey[edit]

Other than incorporating "Holy Cross Abbey" into its business name after the land upon which it stands was acquired from the Monastic community, the St Benedictine monks of The Abbey, never had a thing to do in the creation or operation of, the winery. The winery and tasting room opened to the public in 2002, welcoming visitors to its beautiful and serene Rocky Mountain vineyard.[7]

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey invites visitors into its tasting room where staff guide them through a flight tasting on award-winning wine. Additional services include a VIP wine and cheese tasting during the summer months. The tasting room also sells world and locally-made goods.

In the spring and summer, visitors may sit in an outdoor garden setting while viewing thriving vineyards growing against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. In the winter, visitors may taste wine beside a roaring fireplace.[8]

Annual Events[edit]

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey hosts and participates in several annual events. These include but are not limited to:

  • Harvest Festival[9]
  • Winemakers Dinner[9]
  • Farmmm to Table Fun Run and Dinner[10]
  • Palette to Palate[11]
  • Spring Wine Extravaganza[12]


  • Monterey Chardonnay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2015 Wild Cañon Harvest
  • Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
  • Apple Blossom
  • Syrah
  • Revelation
  • American Riesling
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Merlot Divinity
  • Merlot Reserve
  • Sangre de Cristo Nouveau
  • Vineyard Sunset


  1. ^ a b "Directory of Houses". The American-Cassinese Congregation. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "History". Holy Cross Abbey.
  3. ^ "Bishop Joseph Projectus Machebeuf (Macheboeuf)". Catholic Hierarchy.
  4. ^ Fellner, Felix, O.S.B. "About Us: The Wimmer Era". Saint Vincent Archabbey. Retrieved 26 February 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b Bishop, Josh. "Holy Cross Abbey: Old Habits, New Wines". GoColorado.com. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Holy Cross Abbey". Sangres.com. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  7. ^ Cook, Terri (2015-11-25). "Behind the Vines: The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey". 5280. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  8. ^ Kaiser, Fleur. "Tasting Room - Colorado Wine, Colorado Winery". The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  9. ^ a b "Winery At Holy Cross Abbey's Harvest Fest 2019 set for Sept. 28-29". Canon City Daily Record. 2019-09-17. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  10. ^ "FARmmm to Table Fun Run & Dinner celebrates area's agricultural heritage". Canon City Daily Record. 2019-08-18. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  11. ^ "The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey to host Palette to Palate event June 15". Canon City Daily Record. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  12. ^ Record |, Canon City Daily (2019-03-27). "Abbey Winery to host 14th annual Spring Wine Extravaganza". Canon City Daily Record. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  13. ^ Kaiser, Fleur. "Our Wines - Colorado Wine, Colorado Winery". The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. Retrieved 2019-10-21.

External links[edit]