BRYAN, Texas — Messina Hof is looking to have one of its best harvest seasons at the Bryan estate's history.
“We’re looking at potentially 50 tons of Lenoir coming off of our estate vineyard," said Paul Bonarrigo, the owner and head winemaker at Messina Hoff. "As well as a little bit of Sagrantino and Blanc du Bois, which are the other grapes here.”
However, that great news for the 2020 harvest season has been overshadowed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of Messina Hof's business is based on hospitality businesses like its tasting rooms and wine bars. Those services were forced to close to the public because of state-mandated guidelines.
Luckily the winery has been able to sell its wine through places like H-E-B, Specs and Kroger.
“We relied on that hospitality business, so to be shut down has been crippling," Bonarrigo said.
After Gov. Abbott's announcement to move into phase two of the plans to reopen Texas, Messina Hof can open the tasting rooms and wine bars doors at 25 percent occupancy. The winery is also allowed to expand its currently open restaurant, the Vintage House Restaurant, to 50 percent seating.
“We want to get back to doing what we do best which is being able to give great hospitality and serve great wine, but we also want to do so safely," Bonarrigo said. "We have a lot of protocols in place that our guests are being taken care of.”
As Messina Hof prepares for the Friday's reopen, they reflect on ways they can give back during this pandemic.
“Best ways we could is by partnering with our customers to be able to show our appreciation and support for the workers that are at the frontline of this challenge," Bonarrigo said.
The winery has launched the Messina Hof Bottle of Thanks program.
People can buy and send a bottle of wine to someone in the medical field in their community, a different part of Texas or even a different state. If someone does not have a specific person in mind, Messina Hof will make sure the wine gets to someone in the medical field’s hands.
Messina Hof will cover the costs of the gift to be sent via ground shipping or local delivery (within 15 miles), and include a note of thanks..
“It is nice to come home from a stressful day to have a bottle of wine you can open and enjoy, that helps," Bonarrigo said. "To know that that there are people out there who care about them is a big deal.”
Messina Hof hopes to reach out to local hospitals and provide wine to staff in the near future.