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Messina Hof Winery & Resort
K. L. Sullivan

Messina HofSummary: Messina Hof Winery & Resort is a delightful agri-tourism destination to visit. Discover a Texas winery with numerous quality wines, a romantic bed & breakfast villa and a restaurant. The name Messina Hof comes from the ancestral homes of the owners. The ancestors of Paul Bonarrigo, owner and winemaker, lived in Messina, Sicily. The ancestors of Merrill Bonarrigo, owner and COO, lived in Hof, Germany. Messina Hof Winery offers a delightful vacation or day trip for wine and food enthusiasts. Located in Bryan, Texas, this is a must visit winery.

Visitors will notice numerous sculptures in the lovely landscape before entering the winery tasting room. The wine tasting room also includes gifts available for purchase. Adjacent to this room is the Wine Bar. This area has a wine bar with several tables. A light menu that includes salads and sandwiches is available and foods readily pair with Messina Hof wines. Tables are arranged to allow for a more intimate setting especially the tables for two next to the windows. Views from the windows include a lake that is the perfect setting for a wedding.

Within feet of the tasting room, another building houses the restaurant located in a barrel room. The restaurant provides a menu with locally grown foods. The Vintage House Restaurant is open Thursday thru Sunday for dinner in the lovely ambiance of the barrel room. Adjacent to the barrel room, a large glass enclosed room provides additional seating with views of the vineyards.

Messina Hof     Messina Hof

The villa offers ten romantic guest rooms. The rooms are named after well known figures including Camelot, Jefferson and Romeo. Each room has its own unique accoutrements. Much of the furniture was obtained from visits to antique auctions and travels abroad. The rooms are very comfortable and one feels quite pampered. In the common area on the first floor a large table was carved from a massive tree trunk. The common area also serves as the breakfast room where you will be served a gourmet breakfast. Outside of the villa is a romance garden where a sign identifies the various flowers and their association with romance.

Messina Hof     Messina Hof

We met Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo, owners, of Messina Hof Winery & Resort. They are a delightful couple whose enthusiasm is unbounded. Paul’s ancestors have been making wine for six generations. In his family, it is customary that the first-born son be named Paul. There have been seven generations named Paul. Eventually Paul the seventh will take over the winemaking at Messina Hof. Starting at a very early age, father teaches his son winemaking skills including pruning in the vineyard. Serious winemaking knowledge begins at the age of 16. Traditionally, the winemaker wears a red beret.

Messina HofThey planted their first vines in1977 and in 1983 produced their first bottles of wine with over 10,000 cases, now Messina Hof produces over 100,000 cases of wine. Today the vineyards consist of 42 acres onsite and another 500 acres owned in west Texas. The on-site vineyard has plantings of Black Spanish (Lenoir). This red grape is highly resistant to Pierce’s disease and tolerates the Texas heat and humidity. In the vineyards, a drip system provides the vines with the needed water during droughts. Each vine receives one gallon of water as needed. On the day of our visit in late April, the grapes were beginning to form.

In 1999, the Bonarrigos added the Villa and opened the Wine Bar in 2006. This area is delightful for a light meal paired with wine. For a light dinner, we enjoyed a Mediterranean salad and Panini in the Wine Bar while tasting several wines.

Messina HofWhite Wines

We tasted several wines with food. The Pinot Grigio 2007 offered a citrus nose with a grapefruit taste. The finish was crisp and cleansing with a citrus finish. The Riesling 2006 had a notable minerality with pear nuances. The taste was fruity with notes of pear and peach. It was accompanied by sweetness. There was a fruity finish. Chardonnay Reserve 2007 offered an apple and pear aroma. The taste was also of apple and pear with caramel notes. The finish was fruity with a bit of oak.

Red Wine

Paulo 1996 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The aroma and taste were of black fruit and oak. The finish was crisp with bold tannins. Merlot Paulo 2002 had aroma and taste notes of black cherries. The mouth feel was smooth. The black cherry notes followed through the finish and the finish had tannins. Shiraz 2005 was an opaque, dark purple. The aroma was of pepper. The taste and finish were fruity with notes of black fruit.

Dessert Wine

The Angel Riesling Late Harvest 2007 offered an aroma of fruit and floral. The mouth feel was smooth and the finish fruity.

When you have the opportunity to visit Messina Hof, consider making reservations for a romantic night at the villa and dinner at the restaurant.

Messina Hof Winery & Resort
4545 Old Reliance Road
Bryan, Texas 77808

GPS: N 30º 42.147’ W 96º 19.362’

Related article: The Villa at Messina Hof


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