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Written by: Sarah Kirton on Nov 22nd, 2022

Messina Hof 2022: Texas Wines at their Best

Karen BonarrigoChief Administrative Officer at Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc. chats with DeliveryRank about the beginnings of this Texas winery and the varietals they have on offer.

What can you tell us about the beginnings of Messina Hof wines, the history and heritage? 

Messina Hof started in 1977 as an experimental vineyard planted by Paul Vincent and Merrill Bonarrigo, the first year that they were married on a piece of property they named “Messina Hof” after their family heritages. Paul’s family originally came from a small village outside of Messina, Sicily, and Merrill’s family originally started in Hof, Germany. 

There was a winemaking heritage in the Bonarrigo family that went back generations, and passion for grape growing and winemaking restarted when Paul assisted one of his physical therapy patients with a grape feasibility study conducted at Texas A&M University. As the vines flourished, they started crafting wines that eventually led to full commercial operations. 

Hospitality and genuine customer connections were crucial to pioneering the Texas wine industry, and no one did it better than Paul and Merrill. Their charm and passion were legendary, and their hard work led to the winery expanding into a full resort property with a restaurant, event capabilities, bed and breakfast, and other customer-facing services. 

Eventually Paul and Merrill’s son, Paul Mitchell Bonarrigo, returned from his service in the United States Marine Corps, and from there Messina Hof transitioned into a second-generation business and strategic winery expansions led to three additional Messina Hof winery locations across Texas. 

What is the overwhelming particularity of Messina Hof wines and cultivars, and/or of Texas wines in general? 

Messina Hof is the largest producer of exclusively Texas wine, and we are blessed to work with over 30 different grape varietals. Messina Hof’s Estate Vineyard is the cornerstone of our signature port program made from the unique Lenoir grape. 

We also work with extremely talented, multi-generational grape growers across the state on other more traditional grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache, as well as lesser-known grape varieties, such as Sagrantino, Gewürztraminer, Primitivo, Blanc Du Bois. 

We desire for there to be a wine for everyone in the portfolio, and Messina Hof is known for having one of the most diverse wine selections in the Texas wine industry. We have elegant dry white wines, refreshing and aromatic sweeter wines, stunning dry reds, fun-filled sparkling wines, and a range of dessert wine options for guests to fall in love over and over. 

How did The Museum Collection come about and for what reasons? 

Messina Hof, the Nimitz Foundation, and The National Museum of the Pacific War initially connected in 2012 after Messina Hof opened its Messina Hof Hill Country Winery location in Fredericksburg, Texas in late 2011. The last three generations of the Bonarrigo Family served in the United States military – Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps – and there is a deep respect for the actions and bravery of those that fought to protect America. 

We initially had three wines that were sold primarily through the Messina Hof Hill Country Winery location for a few years with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The National Museum of the Pacific War. The recent program enhancements for the Museum Collection now include expansion to five wines each of which feature key historical moments and stories from the operations in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and all five of the wines are now sold at Messina Hof’s four winery locations, online, and hopefully in select retailers very soon. A portion of the proceeds will continue to go back to The National Museum of the Pacific War, and we encourage everyone to visit the Museum. 

How popular are canned wines becoming and is the quality of the wine maintained? 

Canned wines are a great option for alternative packaging, eco-friendly and recycling ease, and portability of wine wherever customers go on their adventures. Messina Hof has a few canned wines in the portfolio that are 250 milliliters each and come in four-packs. They are great for taking on trips, and especially convenient for traveling to places that do not allow glass, such as pools, the beach, and floating on the river. Cans are meant for quicker consumption to ensure they remain fresh and delightful each time the top is popped. 

What advantages are given to your Wine Club Members and how does one go about joining? 

Our motto at Messina Hof is “Join the Family”™, and we truly believe that our members, staff, and customers are our extended family. Our members receive special invitations to exclusive events, first access to wines, discounts on products and services, and fantastic fellowship with other members through various events and activities throughout the year. 

Messina Hof’s extensive wine portfolio is always changing and evolving to include new releases, and being a member of the Messina Hof Wine Club allows customers to always have Messina Hof wines on hand. Members can opt to pick up their Wine Club packs or have them shipped to any of the 40 states that Messina Hof can ship to across the USA.

How do you see the future of your winery? 

Messina Hof celebrated its 45th anniversary this year, and we hope to see many more decades in the future. We are a family business that is fueled by an immense amount of passion to put the Texas wine industry on the worldwide wine map

We want to continue to connect and educate consumers about Texas wines, and we plan to continue to work with experimental grape varieties to expand the viticulture knowledge within the state. We plan to enhance our services and spaces at all four winery locations, and our commitment to innovation in the industry remains a paramount focus. We strive to stay the most awarded winery in Texas with a never-ending commitment to high quality wine production.

If you would like to find out more about Messina Hof, visit https://www.messinahof.com/ or follow   on https://www.facebook.com/messinahof/ and https://www.instagram.com/messina_hof/?hl=en

About The Author

Sarah Kirton
PR Writer, Delivery Rank
A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!
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