Ironically, but not surprisingly, the demand for church altar wine production skyrocketed during Prohibition (1919-1933) and the winery and adjoining vineyards more than doubled in size during that period. After the Repeal of Prohibition the winery continued to grow, as did the number of seminary students who were also recruited to work in the vineyards and winery. By the late 1950s, over 100,000 cases of Novitiate wine were produced annually here.
In the 1960s, things started to decline at the old winery.
The nearly-century old vines were past their prime production years and costly replanting was needed. The seminary population was beginning to decline. In 1968, it was decided to shut down the seminary college in Los Gatos and move the students to Santa Barbara. At this same time, California’s wine industry was booming; interest in varietal labeled, dry table wines displaced fortified and dessert wines. In 1986, the Jesuits shut down their Novitiate Winery brand, ending an amazing 98 year run.
For the next ten years, the old winery was leased to other brands. In 1997, the old winery underwent a new transformation.