In celebration of the birthday of one of my close friends, we spent the day at Messina Hof, a winery and resort in Bryan, TX.  Even though Texas is not known for their vineyards, Messina Hof offers a unique blend of locally grown wines.  Founded by Paul Bonnarigo in 1983, today Messina Hof produces over 50,000 cases of wine a year and offers year round tours to visitors and wine connoisseurs alike.

As you wait for your tour to begin, you have the option to sample several of Messina Hof’s blends in their wine shop, accompanied by a cheese and meat tray specified to your taste.  We opted to go with a Gorgonzola, Red Dragon, and Cheddar to compliment our Sparkling Almond Wine.

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Similar to most liquor tours, the tour takes place in 3 parts: an overview of the history, a walk through the vineyards and distillery, and a tasting.  On the grounds of Messina Hof in Bryan, part of your tour includes the bed and breakfast where guests can stay on site. The doors of the villa were once a part of the home of Louis Pasteur, the father of pasteurization.

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From the villa, you are then taken on a tour through the vineyards, which had just started to bloom.  In Bryan, there are only about 30 acres of grapes being grown on the property.  Most of the grapes used in Messina Hof’s wines are grown in the panhandle.  According to Nick, our tour guide, wine makers prefer hot arid temperatures, so that they can control the amount of water being distributed to their crops.  Even though the vines were just starting to bloom, we still were able to get in some good photos.  Maybe, we were feeling the wine a little too much.

 After the vineyards, we were ushered into the distillery to learn more about the wine making process, which varies from company to company.

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And last but not least, our tour guide walked us through a six step, four wine tasting.  While many of us just like to make our way through a bottle (as quickly as possible),  there is an actual process that wine connoisseurs go through during wine tasting: See, Smell, Swirl, Sip, Swish, Sip.  Your first sip of wine should never determine whether it’s a keeper, because it takes time for your palates to adjust to most blends.  As we navigated our senses through four of Messina Hoff’s popular wines, there were 2 that made it on to my weekday after work list.  This was my second time touring Messina Hof, and I’m looking forward to one day making it back to stomp the grapes.

For lodging options near Messina Hof, click here.

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