CANON CITY — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
This week, our adventures take us to Canon City to visit The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.
Situated next to the picturesque Wet Mountains, the winery is located on the grounds of the historic Holy Cross Monastery, and has been serving wine since 2002.
Wine Tasting in the time of COVID-19
Our adventure begins in the tasting room, where we meet up with Sally Davidson.
Because of the pandemic, Davidson is quick to point out that the winery has had to make some adjustments to stay open.
The wine tasting experience for example have been moved from inside at the bar to the outside patio.
According to Davidson, another big challenge for the winery is that they're now forced to meet state requirements to provide food options for guests.
To meet this demand, the winery has paired up with the monastery's event center chef next door to offer Al Fresco dining.
"You just simply call the number on the menu and place your order, and they come right over with a fruit plate, a cheese plate, different sandwiches, salads or wraps," said Davidson.
The winery has also partnered with Jimmy John's to provide guests with other food options during the week, because the monastery menu is only available Friday through Sunday.
We'll be back another day for the food because on this visit, we're here to put our palates to the test and try some wine.
Wine tasting on the outside patio
Davidson takes us to the winery's outside patio to begin our tasting, and it's here where we meet Tara Colon, who serves as the winery's wine rep.
She starts us out with three of the winery's prized white wines.
During the tasting, Colon tells us where the wine comes from, the make-up of each varietal, and what foods they might pair best with.
Colon's knowledge of the wine is part of what makes this adventure so much fun.
Up next, we move onto the reds.
With each tasting, I'm really impressed with the depth of flavor and complexity of the wines.
Since I'm here for work, we decide to skip some of the reds so that we can move onto the sweeter wines.
Both Davidson and Colon are excited for me to try the Wild Canon Harvest.
Local growers from as far away as Denver will bring their own backyard grapes to the winery each year to help create this wildly popular wine. It's unique and tasty!
2020 wine production is down
According to their website, the winery produces between 9,000 and 10,000 cases a year.
However, production has suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent weather events.
According to the winery's owner Larry Oddo, production in 2020 was half that of usual.
In spite of this, Davidson says that thanks to the support of the community, guests can once again be treated to the winery's robust award-winning wines in a rustic outdoor setting.
"They can expect some of the nicest, most beautiful wines they've ever tasted. They can expect impeccable service," said Davidson.
Visiting the winery
The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey is open 7 days a week, and reservations are strongly recommended due to limited outside seating.
To make a reservation or to find out more, you can call the winery at (719) 276-5191.
More information can also be found online at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey