Staying at a Winery: My Week at Texas Hill Country’s Messina Hof Manor Haus

As a wine lover, nothing is more satisfying than visiting a winery or vineyard. Tasting terrific vino is always rewarding, yet to see where it came from adds a whole new dynamic and appreciation. You can imagine how excited I was to discover Messina Hof Winery in Frederirkcsburg, Texas. Not only can you pay them a visit in Texas Hill Country but thanks to the Manor Haus B&B, guests can enjoy a unique experience by staying on their property.

The History of Messina Hof

It all began over 40 years ago when Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo decided to try their hands at a 1 acre vineyard in Bryan, Texas and grow some wine. At the time, Texas was not the thriving region it has fast become. The couple experimented with 50 varietals and had the attitude that “anything is possible.” Little did they know that their legacy would be launched with their first medal at the Texas State Fair in 1981 for a Black Spanish Cabernet blend.

With that first award, the Bonarrigos knew they had something special and Messina Hof went on to make wine making history. From 1990, when their Angel Late Harvest Riesling became the first Texas wine to score a 90 in the Wine Spectator, to 2013, when Messina Hof was the first Texas winery to win Top Overall at the Houston Livestock show and Rodeo. As Texas became one of the top 5 USA wine regions, Messina Hof was at the forefront, paving the way for winemakers to come.

And through these successful years, Messina Hof has become a family affair. 2010 found Paul and Merrill’s son, Paul Jr., return to Bryan with his wife, Karen to continue his parents legacy. As a family, the Bonarrigos successfully opened Messina Hof Hill Country Winery and Manor Haus B&B in 2011. The experience Paul Jr. had growing up on the vineyard prepared him for the next turning point in the businesses history. In 2012, the winery was officially passed down to the next generation with Paul Jr. becoming the Chief Executive Officer and Karen, the Director of Administration. Paul and Karen opened Messina Hof Grapevine Winery, the family’s 3rd Texas location, in 2014 at the end of a record breaking year.

My Hof Haus. (c) Mary Farah
Living room. (c) Mary Farah
My bedroom at the Hof. (c) Mary Farah
Great kitchenette. (c) Mary Farah
Staying at Manor Haus B&B

Fredericksburg lays in the heart of Texas Hill Country and offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time with their throwback Western-inspired downtown and enjoy over 40 wineries in the area. Not knowing quite what to expect, the drive leading out to Hill Country from San Antonio is extremely rural. I even encountered cows crossing the road! As I arrived at Messina Hof, I loved its  castle top building and immediately was greeted by their vines out front. As you make your way behind the winery, you’ll find the 4 cozy cottages that make up Manor Haus B&B.

Staying in the Hof Haus, this studio is a homage to Merrill’s German heritage. European antiques  are paired with traditional Texas accents like a cow skin rug and leather chairs to make up this spacious suite. While no hosted breakfast, Messina Hof takes care of their guests with an array of cereals, milk, coffee cake, juice and bottle of sparkling wine in your room upon arrival. Plates, cups and utensils are also there for you along with soap, towels and necessities to keep the kitchen space tidy.

If you’re like me and look forward to enjoying a morning cup of coffee or tea, you’re going to love their unique coffee maker. Fresh beans sit at the top of the maker; and when you’re ready to brew a pot of java, you simply set the maker to grind the appropriate amount of beans, ensuring an extremely fresh pot of coffee each time. How nifty is that?

The bedroom had an inviting King sized bed and a flat screen cable TV. The bathroom was ample with a gorgeous tile shower. I was planning to get some work done while at Manor Haus but keep in mind the wifi was extremely wonky. Instead, I enjoyed the down time when at home and watched TV or read on my patio (maybe with a glass or 2 of wine.)

Speaking of wine…..

Messina Hof Tasting Room and Winery

If you’ve arrived in Texas Hill Country to taste all the wines, I cannot think of a better reason to stay at Messina Hof. How many times have you wished you could just walk back to your hotel after an afternoon of tasting? Well, my friends, you can at Messina Hof. While the Bonarrigos continue to live in Bryan, they have a wonderful and knowledgeable staff eager to pour you some of the best wines coming out of Texas.

A complimentary tasting or glass of wine is included with your stay and I opted for a tasting. Winery associates Kyla and Yvonne were extremely helpful in describing each wine and talked me into some that were not on my radar. I began with a 2017 Semillon that had some tart to it in addition to its citrus notes. As someone who always has to see how a Viognier is, I was extremely pleased with Messina Hof’s 2017. Very floral, and a sweetness that lingered.

Messina Hof Winery. (c) Mary Farah
Cheers! (c) Mary Farah
The Bonarrigo family. (c) Mary Farah

As we moved into reds, the 2017 Pinot Noir was, as usual, a highlight for me. It was bold while also robust, and had a hint of pepper at the end. I also enjoyed the Tempranillo, which is what they grow right out front in Hill Country.

Another highlight was a real “love it or hate it” sparkling wine. Messina Hof’s Sparkling Almond wine made feel like I was at a fair enjoying a candied apple. Sweet notes of caramel came onto my palette, in between moments of tart and a strong presence of its nutty notes. I laughed as some ladies enjoying a tasting were not huge fans of this wine. At $25, I thought it was a steal and a must-try at the winery.

Visit Messina Hof in Texas Hill Country

If you’re not staying with Messina Hof, guests are invited to stop by the winery and enjoy a tasting for $14. If you purchase 6 bottles of wine, the fee will be waived. The spacious winery has a wide selection of wines to choose from so plan on stocking up. Their hours vary by day, but they’re open daily with late hours on weekends and a weekday happy hour.

Whether you want to get the full experience with Manor Haus B&B or just stop by, you can learn more about Messina Hof HERE. xo

(*Disclosure: A huge thank you to Messina Hof for hosting me on behalf of this article. As always, all opinions are my own.)

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