Lyle Lovett has a fabulous song called That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas. If you haven’t heard it, I urge you to check it out. Twelve years ago I was blessed to meet Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Umbria, Italy. We became fast friends and have stayed close through the years.
I recently paid my fourth visit to their Messina Hof Winery and Resort in Bryan, Texas. When they began the winery in 1977, there were less than five wineries in the state. There are now over 600. I still have people roll their eyes when I tell them about Texas wine. I’m here to tell you Texas produces some outstanding wines.
Paul and Merrill gifted me a copy of their new book called Family, Tradition, and Romance: The Messina Hof Story. I recommend it highly. It tells the story of how they met, fell in love, and against all odds established one of the most successful wineries in the state. Their son Paul Mitchell Bonarrigo runs operations now, and business is booming.
When I first visited about ten years ago, they had one tasting room, the one in Bryan just outside of College Station. They recently opened their fourth, Harvest Green in Houston. They also have locations in Fredericksburg and Grapevine. Both the Bryan and Fredericksburg locations offer lodging.
I encourage you to consider a visit and see what Texas wine is all about. You never know, you might just “Join The Family.”