Ultra Wine Racks & Cellars welcomes you once again to our blog. Three weeks ago, we did a winery profile of Blackjack Ranch, famous for being featured in the movie Sideways. Today we have another winery profile for you to sample: Messina Hof Winery & Resort of Bryan, Texas.
Messina Hof Winery & Resort
Messina Hof lies in Bryan, Texas, in Brazos County. The winery got its start in 1977, when Merrill Bonarrigo and Paul Vincent planted an experimental one-acre vineyard. Forty years ago, there were only a handful of wineries in Texas. Vincent and Bonarrigo founded the winery on the advice of a Texas A&M student who had been studying the viability of grapevine cultivation in the area. In that small one-acre plot, Bonnarigo and Vincent planted more than fifty grape varietals. For the next several years, the pair honed their winemaking crafts. In 1981, their wines won their first accolade. Messina’s black Spanish-cabernet blend won a medal at the Texas State Fair.
In the 1980s, Vincent and Bonarrigo welcomed their first child, and planted two additional vineyards. This permitted them to churn out 1,300 gallons of wine in 1983. This volume was sufficient for the couple to produce their first commercial vintage, which included port, chenin blanc, and cabernet sauvignon.
Many more awards and accolades followed. In 1990, a Messina Hof riesling became the first wine created in Texas to earn a score of 90 from Wine Spectator. In 2013, Messina Hof became the first Texas winery to win first prize at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Bonarrigo and Vincent’s children now run the winery in their stead, and the awards keep pouring in.
Award-Winning Texas Wine
Messina Hof’s offerings are diverse. They range from port and dessert wines to rosés and sparkling wines to dry and sweet reds and whites. Some of the highlights of Messina’s fairly priced collection include:
– Gewürztraminer: Messina Hof’s website describes this wine as “a well balanced medium-bodied wine with delightful aromatics of white roses and ginger. Exciting flavors of lychee, lemon zest and spices make this a great white wine to pair with food.” The wine won two gold medals at the 2018 Lone Star International Wine Competition.
– Admiral’s Reserve: Messina Hof’s website states that this wine is “a full-bodied dessert wine with rich aromas of black currants and pecans. Oak aging adds hints of mocha and a beautiful tannin structure.” The wine won a silver medal at the 2014 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.
– Angel Late Harvest Riesling: Messina Hof’s website states that this wine is “a crisp, sweet dessert wine, harvested from the last pick of Riesling when the grapes are like raisins in order to capture flavors of apple, pear and honey. Perfect with fruit, cheesecake and light, sweet chocolate desserts.” The wine won gold at the 2017 Grapefest People’s Choice Tasting Classic and silver at the 2018 Lone Star International Wine Competition.
– Paulo Cabernet Sauvignon: Messina Hof’s website describes this wine is “a full-bodied red wine with flavors of black plums, cranberry and hints of dried fig. Oak aging in our finest barrels adds ripe tannins and layers of baking spices, cedar and violet.” It won silver at the 2015 TEXSOM International Wine Competition and gold at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition.
Brazos County Terroir
Brazos County lies in southeast-central Texas, 125 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It is a coastal plain, 200-400 feet above sea level, lying between two rivers, the Navasota and the Brazos. The soil tends to be either light and sandy, with dense clay underneath, or dark loam and clay. There are also areas with alluvial soils and gravel. The county’s climate is temperate and subtropical. Winters are mild, with low temperatures persisting only two months or so. Summers are hot and sunny, with occasional rains. This creates ideal conditions for growing wine.
This is the first time we’ve featured a Texas winery on our site, but it definitely won’t be the last. Texas wines have been garnering more and more awards at prestigious competitions in recent years. Messina Hof is just one of the Texas wineries to earn awards for its wines. Make sure your next wine road trip includes a stop in Brazos County to sample some of their offerings. Stay tuned to our blog for more winery recommendations, wine and food pairings, and news. Also stop by our website for the latest in innovative and modern wine racking solutions.