While children across town prepare for their Halloween celebrations, some adults are prepping for the annual Messina Hof Spooky Cellar Tour.
The Spooky Cellar Tour will be from Oct. 23 to Oct. 30 at 6:30 to 8 p.m. each day. The event begins with “a glass of Sparkling Ghost Wine as [patrons] stroll around the estate while hearing the history of the winery, including tales and lore of the area.”
According to the Messina Hof website, the night includes a tour with a telling of the history of the winery followed by a tasting of four different varieties of wine directly from the barrels and ends with a Papa Paulo Port chocolate truffle.
Office manager of the designer events department for Messina Hof Winery, Teri Ryan said for her, the fun begins with an introduction to the history of the winery with a spooky spin.
“Who doesn’t enjoy being a little kid again with all things spooky?” Ryan said. “We are extremely happy to be able to host this event, even with the guidelines in place we are certain everyone will have a ‘spooktacular’ good time.”
Messina Hof Winery marketing director Alex Beckman said the cellar tour has been around for a number of years, but the spooky aspect was something they decided to add a few years ago.
“We had a former employee who was very interested in the cellar aspect and the more in-depth wine-making part of the process and he wanted to offer guests the opportunity to do that and celebrate Halloween at the same time,” Beckman said.
Preparation for this year's spooky cellar tour looked a little different, Beckman said. They had to make a few changes in the amount of people they can allow onto the tour itself by limiting capacity to 20 people. Though the tours are all sold out, customers can still expect to have the same wine tasting experience.
“Essentially we’ve updated the quantity and it will be spaced out a bit more of course so that we can cater to the safety and the protocols and everything that is happening in Texas,” Beckman said. “But other than that it’s pretty classic. It still has tasting from our tanks and our barrels. Our guests have the chance to still see that and experience that and we didn’t want to get rid of that.”
Beckman said one of her favorite aspects of the Spooky Cellar Tour is that patrons get to dress up and have fun during the tour.
“I really enjoy that and in the past it’s always been fun to see how guests dress up or if they choose not to, it’s still fun for everyone,” Beckman said. “They just get the chance to kind of relax and enjoy wine and celebrate the holiday season.”
Messina Hof Winery is a family owned business that has been serving the community for 40 years. Founders Paul Vincent and Merrill Bonarrigo established their first vineyard in Bryan after positive support from Texas A&M graduates studying grape feasibility in Texas.
“The Messina Hof legacy began 40 years ago, with an experimental vineyard and fifty varietals of grapes,” the website reads. “Thousands of awards and a generation later, Messina Hof continues to be at the forefront of the Texas wine industry.”
Beckman said they are excited about the support from the community and the upcoming tour since their establishment has been greatly affected by COVID-19. The establishment is looking forward to having people coming out and making their way back to the winery.
“The fact that we did sell out and people are doing their best to support locals whether they’re buying our wine curbside or going on tours when we’ve finally opened back up, it means a lot so we are grateful,” Beckman said.