“Join the Family”
You may have seen this slogan before on the Messina Hof Winery & Resort website, or perhaps at one of the three Messina Hof locations you visited. What are they talking about?
Like most wineries, joining the family means joining Messina Hof’s wine club. But it also refers to the other club they offer—the VIP Club. Most people I mention the VIP Club to do not understand what it is. After all these years, I still do not understand why more Texas wineries do not offer this type of membership.
There are three VIP Club memberships you can join. They all start at the Traditional level and you can also join the higher levels of Gold and Platinum which offer you additional benefits. Here is a brief summary of some items the Traditional membership offers:
- Discounts on wine and gift shop purchases
- Discounts on the The Villa (Bryan) or Manor Haus B&B (Fredericksburg) lodging
- Discounts on The Vintage House Restaurant (Bryan)
- Discounts on specialty dinners
- VIP Receptions (usually quarterly)
- 2 red berets (you have seen co-founder Paul V. Bonarrigo wear a beret, right?)
The Gold membership offers increased discounts, tastings, and more. The Platinum membership, which can only be obtained via an upgrade from a current membership, again increases discounts, a complimentary dinner for two to one of the three Wine Release dinners, exclusive Platinum events, and more.
Most wine clubs offer some of the same discounts, but the VIP Club does not require you to purchase wine that is usually chosen by the winery. Does Messina Hof lose out on selling wine when a person just has a VIP Club membership? From my experience at VIP Receptions, quite a bit of wine is sold, often because they are usually new releases.
Recently, Messina Hof held their Wine Premiere weekend with two VIP events surrounding the Wine Premiere dinner. We are Platinum VIP members and on the Friday evening of the weekend, we had the opportunity to join other Platinum and Diamond (the premier VIP Club given by the winery) for a special Library Tasting.
Paul V. and Merrill Bonarrigo were our hosts during the Library Tasting, and if you have had the chance to listen to Paul Bonarrigo before, you know there were a lot of stories and a lot of laughs. In addition, we had these library wines to taste which were then available for purchase depending on their limited quantity:
- 2013 Private Reserve Tex-Zin
- 2012 Private Reserve Merlot
- 2011 Private Reserve Reflections of Love
- 2010 Paulo Cabernet Franc
- 2010 Paulo Zinfandel
- 2012 Private Reserve Papa Paulo Port
There was also a 2004 Tawny Port held for auction and then sold at the auction price for the quantity at hand. It was a fun night with some great wine.
The black and white Wine Premiere dinner was on Saturday with a five course wine paired dinner with all newly released wines enjoyed for the first time. Prior to dinner, two more wines were available including one new wine. The dinner was available to the public, but I make mention to the dinner not only because of the number of events Messina Hof has, but also because the wines enjoyed on Saturday were then available to the VIP Club members at Sunday’s VIP Reception.
The two hour VIP Reception was held this time in the Gallery located on the second floor above The Vintage House Restaurant. Recent VIP Receptions have been held in the Barrel Room, but since it was soon after harvest and new wines were being produced, the Gallery once again held the VIP Reception.
The wines previously mentioned were available for VIP Club members to enjoy along with a terrific selection of food. The Bonarrigos who are present at a VIP Reception always speak during the reception and inform the members of new happenings. As usual, the reception was enjoyable. A small arts and crafts festival was taking place in the parking lot of the winery after the reception for those wanting to shop and enjoy more time at the winery.
This was just one example of what being a VIP Club member can provide you at Messina Hof. And regarding the saying “Join the Family,” I can truly say the Bonarrigo family takes that to heart. They always greet their VIP members and socialize during the events. I’ll leave you with three simple words: Join the Family.
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