The art of wine making in Texas is a tradition that dates back several centuries. In the 1600’s, in West Texas near modern day El Paso, Spanish monks began growing Mission grapes for the purpose of sacramental wines.
Over two hundred years later, a horticulturalist named Thomas Munson living in Denison, Texas devoted his time to cultivating Texas grapes. His work eventually led to discoveries that would help European vineyards recover from a rampant epidemic in the latter part of the 19th century. Munson was awarded the title of Chevalier du Merite Agricole of the French Legion of Honor and Denison was named the sister city to Cognac, France.
Years later, Prohibition devastates the Texas wine industry, closing all but one vineyard in Del Rio, the Val Verdes Winery. It isn’t until the 1970’s, several decades after Prohibition ends, that the Texas wine industry experiences significant revitalization. In 1977, Paul and Merril Bonarrigo open Messina Hof and carry on the 200-year old family tradition of winemaking.
Today, Messina Hof harvests from 600 acres across the state and yields 1.2 million bottles every year.