The exciting news in Texas (and particularly in the greater Houston-area) is, Messina Hof Winery just opened a new winery location in Richmond called Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen.  As the newest member of the Messina Hof family, the Harvest Green location, only about 45 minutes from the center of Houston, offers a unique wine and food adventure. It’s a wine country experience only a mile off the West Park Toll Road in Richmond, Texas.

I recently visited Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen to talk and taste with the husband-and-wife owners – Paul Mitchell and Karen Bonarrigo – with my twofold aim: learn the whys and wherefores on their new operation and get some suggestions for a few grand Messina Hof wines for summer.

Owners – husband & wife, Paul Mitchell and Karen Bonarrigo

With respect to their new venture, Paul said, “In 2016, we knew we were entering our next growth phase and we started looking around Houston – In The Woodlands, Conroe and Sugarland. But nothing really seemed right until we found out about the Harvest Green development and their community “agri-hood” plan that seemed to fit right in with our plans.”

As Paul, Karen and I walked the surround property viewing the farm’s rows of vegetables, chickens and goats, Paul said, “This neighborhood is more than just blocks of houses, it offers the opportunity to enjoy fresh produce from the on-site farm. This fit right into our idea of a restaurant serving farm-fresh cuisine paired with an extensive Messina Hof wine list. What excited us further was when we heard that Harvest Green already had a small vineyard onsite, and they were receptive to our idea to manage and expand it for local wine production. At that point, Karen and I agreed that this is the place we wanted to locate.” 

Fast forward three years through the planning and development stages and a year of pandemic, Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen now enters as one of Houston’s premier wine and food destinations. It combines Messina Hof’s decades of winemaking expertise with the Bonarrigo passion for cuisine and their family hospitality. 

As soon as I entered, looked around and gathered in the wood-fire aroma coming from the pizza oven, it was obvious to me that Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen was a welcoming environment to gather over great food and wine. They offer dining in a full-service restaurant, sipping in a spacious tasting room, or picking up a wood-fire-cooked pizza and wine to go. This wine destination has a simple elegance waiting for you to experience it.

Starting with the arrival of our sharable appetizers – Stuffed Mushroom Caps and Gulf Fritto Misto, Karen Bonarrigo shared her ideas for a few summertime wine selections along with ideas for food pairings. We will explore those in Part II of this blog (click here).

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Love to taste, talk and tweet about Texas wines and where they are in the global scheme for wines. After all that's the only way they will reach the full potential.