Karen Bonarrigo

Chief Administrative Officer/Owner, Messina Hof Winery

Karen Bonarrigo started her journey into the Texas Wine Industry after meeting her (now) husband, Paul M. Bonarrigo more than fifteen years ago. Karen grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in History from The George Washington University. During her time at The George Washington University, she participated in the selective Elizabeth J. Somers Women’s Leadership Program and worked at The George Washington University Law School as well as Marzulla and Marzulla Law Firm in Washington, D.C. After graduation, Karen worked as a litigation paralegal in North Carolina while Paul served as an Active Duty Officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Paul and Karen moved back to Texas in 2010 for Paul to begin the ownership and wine program transition with his parents, Paul V. and Merrill Bonarrigo. Karen transitioned into Messina Hof Winery as the Human Resources Manager in 2010, was promoted to Director of Administration in 2012, and then became the Chief Administration Officer in 2018, the role she holds today.

She currently oversees multiple department areas at Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc. including human resources, accounting, administration, marketing, membership, and e-commerce. Directing the food and wine pairing and education programs is her personal passion, and she remains dedicated to steering Messina Hof toward nationally recognized culinary programs while continuing to expand her education regarding food and wine.

Karen is active within the hospitality and wine industries at various local and state levels. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) and Co-Chairman of Texas Hill Country Wineries’ Marketing Committee. Karen previously held the positions of Vice-President, President, Past-President, and Chairman of the Legislative Committee of Texas Hill Country Wineries (THCW) from 2016 through 2019. She also served as the Region 3 Foundation Director for the Texas Wine Foundation (formerly known as the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Foundation) from 2014 through 2020, and she was Secretary/Treasurer on the Board of Experience Bryan-College Station (formerly known as the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau) from 2018 until 2020.

Karen was named a Master Lady of the Vine with the esteemed Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine in 2017. She achieved a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level Two Award in Wine and Spirits and passed with Distinction also in 2017, and she passed the Introductory Level with The Court of Master Sommeliers in 2019.  Karen currently holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level Three Award in Wines after passing with Merit in 2023.