This weekend was the kick-off of the Harvest Festival at the Messina Hof Winery & Resort in Bryan, Texas. Paul Bonarrigo announced that Messina Hoff is opening a winery in Grapevine. The winery will be located at the Wallis Hotel in the heart of Downtown. It is scheduled to open in November 2014. Messina Hof currently has locations in Fredericksburg and Bryan, Texas, along with bed and breakfast facilities at both wineries. This new location will be their first urban winery.
The 37th Annual Harvest Festival began with an introduction by Paul Mitchell Bonarrigo, CEO/Winemaker.
- This introduction took place in The Villa at Messina Hof which is filled with tradition, history and family heirlooms.
- Then it was off to collect the pruning knives and orientation in the Gallery. The gallery is lined with masterpieces from art contests held by Messina Hof. The artwork was truly remarkable. It depicts many landscapes and treasures throughout Texas. What a tribute to this great State. During orientation we learned all about the history of Messina Hoff and the journey it took to build it to what it is today. We also learned how to prune the grapes off the vine, including songs to sing along as you prune. We were given the challenge to find a unique cluster. This challenge could win you the coveted “Big Kahuna” title, necklace and certificate.
- Next we were off to the harvesting of the grapes. Even Mayor Tate and his wife got into the fun, picking grapes for the stomping. The grapes harvested this evening are the variety used to make the award-winning Sophia Marie Rose and world-class Ports. Some folks even sampled the grapes right off the vine.
- Next it was off to the “Blessing of the Vines” by Monsignor Malinowski. He has been blessing these vines for the last 13 years. Just more proof of the importance of tradition for this family.
- The “Big Kahuna” contest was next on the agenda. There was a variety of entries, each unique in their own right. The contestants were creative and engaged the audience to obtain votes for their entry. The title of 2014 Big Kahuna went to Irene Morales from Houston.
- Time now to the stomp the harvested grapes, a first for many in attendance. Co-owner, Paul Bonarrigo VI began the stomping by leading the crowd in some traditional Italian song and dance. Everyone soon joined in the fun. As you stepped out of the grape stomping bins you stepped on to your souvenir t-shirt, leaving your “wine footprints”.
- It was now time for the big announcement, we headed back to the Gallery. Mayor William D. Tate was on hand at the celebration to welcome this new winery to the City of Grapevine. This is wonderful news, as Messina Hof is no stranger to Grapevine. They have competed and won many top awards at GrapeFest numerous times.
- All these activities helped work up an appetite and just in time. The final item on the agenda was a grand feast served in the Gallery along with a superb selection of fine wines.
The cornerstones of Messina Hof Winery & Resort are family, tradition and romance. The Bonariggo family truly lived up to these ideals this evening. Their focus is on hospitality, food and customer service and these were evident this evening. Their hospitality and customer service is second to none. It is a culture they nurture at every level of their business. All of the employees working this event were more than just courteous, they were helpful, welcoming and hospitable.
Messina Hof hosts many different events all year. Check their website for a calendar of events or activities available. The Harvest Festival, in Bryan, will continue for the next three weekends in August with a plethora of activities, including murder mysteries, dinners, wine pairing and more. The festival will culminate in Fredericksburg on the last weekend in August. For more information or to make reservations, call 1.800.736.WINE (Ext. 234).
Messina Hof has won numerous awards in both national and international competitions. These accolades are not only helping to make Messina Hof a household name at a national level but are a huge boost for Texas wines at an international level. This is another reason to have Messina Hof located in Grapevine. Grapevine is at the heart of the hub for international travel in the DFW area. So, keep your eyes open for the grand opening!