Houston (and Texas for that matter) does a great job at supporting local and sustainable products whether it is by purchasing locally for a restaurant or visiting the many farmer's markets around the Houston area. However, we don't do as great of a job supporting our Texas wine industry. After visiting Messina Hof Winery and Resort during their 35th Annual Harvest Festival, we not only gained knowledge of Texas wines, but we also learned how few local restaurants actually carried Texas wines in comparison to the number of restaurants we have here. With that said, there are some exceptions including the Pappa's brand, Kiran's and Sullivan's who do carry Texas wines, but there is still a lot of growth opportunity. Unfortunately, without knowing much about Texas wines and their history, we are not the experts and cannot pin point the reason. It is definitely not the fact that Texas wines lack flavor or richness as we found out during our day of tasting and learning at Messina Hof. Our hands down favorite that day was their Papa Paulo Port.
During our visit, we got the chance to pick some grapes (we thought our grapes were the best, clearly) and we even got our feet wet. This was a first for the Urban Swank Girls - talk about an adventure and an experience we will never forget. Have you ever wanted to learn how to do the Cupid Shuffle? Well, you certainly missed out! After making it to the final round of the "The Big Kahuna Competition", we had to show off a little Urban Swank talent. The goal of the competition was to find the most unique-looking cluster of grapes. For our entry, we named our grape "Dancing with the Stars" so it was only right that we show off a step or two for the lovely crowd. Armed with an iPhone and iTunes, we were ready to roll. "Down, down, do ya dance, do ya dance...to the right, to the right". We put up a good fight, but in the end we were out-smarted by an older lady with a mean kung fu stance (and grip). We were not going to mess with her so we graciously applauded her win and accepted the runner-up position. We had a blast! Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and sipped on some more great wines.
The Messina Hof harvest season runs through the weekend of August 17th, so you have one last chance to take advantage of the many festivities including tours of the winery, wine tastings, grape picking, grape stomping, and special dinners (we hear the Murder Mystery Dinners are not to be missed). It is an exhilarating experience especially when you know the grapes you pick will be used for actual wine production. As a matter of fact, the grapes picked during this year's harvest will be used to make their award winning Port. This coming weekend, on August 17th and August 18th, Messina Hof will be hosting their "Mix, Jazz & Dazzle at the Lounge at Messina Hof" and the "Harvest Gala". As these events denote the end of the harvest festivities, make sure you schedule your visit; the costs are $60 per person and $125 per person respectively.
Messina Hof has been developing commercial wines since 1983; and will produce 265,000 gallons of wine and more than 18 varietals this year. The owners of Messina Hof, Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo really know how to welcome their guests into their world. They are gracious hosts and are hands on so you really enjoy the full experience. They are on a mission not only to get their wines more visibility, but they speak on behalf of all Texas wineries with their message, "Support our Texas Wine industry!" Well, they definitely have our support. We also feel that every restaurant in Texas which offers wine should also include Texas wines in their mix. Given that Texas is the fifth largest wine producing state in the United States, we hope the buzz catches on and we see many more restaurants offering Texas wines to their customers. We are sure that if you give them a try, you will agree. Let's do our part and take our support for local a step further and support Messina Hof and all Texas wineries. Support Local! Go Texan!
Messina Hof is located at 4545 Old Reliance Road, Bryan, Texas 77808
Phone Number: (979) 778-9463 or toll free (800) 736-9463
~ Urban Swank
Urban Swank did receive complimentary media access to Messina Hof, but the opinions expressed are our own.