Historic Novitiate Winery
Each autumn from the 1888 to 1986, the novices of the California Province labored in the vineyards surrounding the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos, harvesting grapes for the Jesuit winery. At one time, they picked enough fruit to produce 150,000 gallons of wine each year. Although some wine was sold commercially, the majority of it, especially during Prohibition, was altar wine used for sacramental purposes. Ever-increasing competitive pressure in the marketplace led to a decision to close the winery in 1986.
Vintage wines in new “wineskins”
In 2005, Testarossa Vineyards reopened the winery and generously agreed to bring back the Novitiate label, which graced the original bottles. Testarossa donates a portion of the sale of these wines to benefit the Province's retirement facility at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. You can visit the tasting room in the stone cellar of the historic Novitiate winery between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily (except holidays) to sample and buy wines. For information on ordering wines or attending vintage-release parties at the winery, visit Novitiate wines.