December 2, 2023


Texas’ International Wine Ambassadors
Texas has two International Wine Ambassadors that have taken Texas Wines to 36 countries and on numerous river cruises in Europe. Paul Bonarrigo and his Bride, Merrill, from Messina Hof Winery have taken their Messina Hof Wines all over the United States and through the countries of France, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, the Republic of Georgia Moldova, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and England for starters. Paul and Merrill have put together several River Cruises featuring their wines for the Messina Hof Winery Wine Club Members. These tours introduced Americans to Europe while also introducing Europeans to Texas wines via Messina Hof Wines. Their latest cruise was on the rivers of Germany. Along each of these River Cruises, wine tastings were held by the Bonarrigo’s for their American AND European friends with wonderful reviews for these wines. These two dynamic Texas Wine Icons have taught classes in American Wine Marketing for fellow winemakers in Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and the Republic of Georgia. The Bonarrigo’s have also taken several escorted wine tours through the island of Sicily where Paul’s Family lived. The Bonarrigo Family emigrated from Messina, Sicily to New Jersey where Paul Vincent was born and educated before coming to Texas. During Paul’s high school years in New Jersey, he was involved in a “garage band” and then studied physical therapy. Paul then migrated to Bryan-College Station as a young therapist. Paul met Merrill in Texas where this dynamic twosome established Messina Hof Winery in the shadows of Texas A and M University. They established Messina Hof Winery in 1977, being the fourth winery in Texas that existed after Prohibition ended. Their family roots of Messina and Hof became the basis for this successful winery’s name. Messina Hof is oriented at quality and was the FIRST Texas winery to score a 90 in WINE SPECTATOR, being their Angel Late harvest Riesling wine.
Both Paul and Merrill were influential in the establishment of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association aka TWGGA which is one of the reason the Texas Wine Industry is at the level of quality today. Paul and Merrill have also been Texas-Proud of Texas Wines, particularly those from Messina Hof Winery. Their wines have been showcased throughout Europe to great reviews. Paul and Merrill have placed the seeds of Texas Wines throughout Europe and have nicknamed themselves as the “Johnny Apple Seed of Texas Wine.” Paul and Merrill have introduced Messina Hof Wines on Disney Cruises originating at the Port of Galveston. Texas and traveling throughout the Caribbean Countries. Their Texas Wines have helped to open doors to the world of Texas’ great wines. Paul and Merrill have elevated their son Paul VII to head up Messina Hof Winery with his wife, Karen Pietruszka Bonarrigo. Both are following in the footsteps of Paul and Merrill by making great wines and contributing to the Texas Wine Industry via their involvement in TWGGA. In addition, they have the next generation of winemakers growing up in the winery. Look for Paul Anthony and Sophia Marie to become the next generation of winemakers at Messina Hof Winery. Since Paul and Merrill have firmly established a continuity of Messina Hof Winery’s growth with the installation of Pave VII and Karen, look for Paul and Merrill to become even more active as Texas’ International Wine Ambassadors.

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