Texas Day Trip: Messina Hof Winery In A Bentley Bentayga Speed

June 8, 2022
3 mins read

I have spent the last week enjoying the Bentley Bentayga Speed and while it might seem hyperbolic, I am prepared to declare that it is the greatest SUV you can currently buy new or used. Now I understand that is a bold statement, there are SUVs with more space, more towing capacity, and many that are more capable off-roaders. But if we are honest, the percentage of four-wheel-drive SUVs that end up taking on the King of Hammers is fairly low. For what the modern SUV is designed and used for these days, by the majority of people, the Bentley Bentayga Speed is far and above unlike any sports utility you can buy today new, but used it is an even better value.

It would be easy to dismiss my crowning the Bentley as the King of SUVs if you assumed I hadn’t driven anything else comparable, but having driven just about every new SUV from the Kia Telluride to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan over the last year, the Bentley just does the SUV better. The Bentayga Speed has a base price of $235,700, the one I have been driving comes in at $273,760, about $50,000 more than the median home price in the United States right now. But buying a low-mileage used Speed can save you around $100,000, so be sure to check Autotrader before you commit to a brand-new one.

Our destination was the Messina Hof Winery and resort on the outskirts of Bryan, Texas just a short drive from our home. But I decided to take the long way to really enjoy everything the Speed has to offer, sure the garish Orange makes me a target here in Aggieland, but they would have to catch us first.

Inside Alcantara with contrast stitching make a bold statement, this Bentayga is also equipped with the $4,035 carbon fiber interior package, which does add to the sportiness of the interior. Inside is every modern convenience, with the exception of a power-folding second-row seat, which is nearly standard in most luxury SUVs, but for the few times, you actually do fold down the seats the rest of the interior more than makes up for it. Be sure to add the optional messaging seats when you place your order.

But while the pretty interior and rear spoiler is great, they are all just the wrapper for the 6-liter twin-turbo W12 engine that can propel the Bentayga Speed to 190 mph, making it the fasted production SUV you can currently buy. The sporting pedigree doesn’t end with the top speed, the Speed will reach 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds, which is faster than a BMW M2 Competition, a Porsche Cayman S, or a Lexus RC F Track Edition, and the Bentayga manages this while weighing over two and a half tons.

Arriving at Messina Hof, the bright orange Bentley stands outs among the sea of midsized upscale SUVs you often find in the parking lot at wineries, but it stands out with its handsome new styling. Messina Hof is a family-owned winery with vineyards across Texas and is the most award-winning winery in Texas. The Bryan location is the original winery which started with a single acre in 1977 and has grown to be the fourth-largest winery in Texas.

We opted for lunch at the on-site restaurant which offers a mix of Italian and American cuisine, much of the produce is grown in the Messina Hof garden and each dish is paired with a wine. The food is always excellent and worth the drive on its own. After lunch, you can explore the property, take a guided tour to learn more about the winemaking process, or just enjoy some time out by the lake. If you are coming from out of town you can always opt to stay at the Villa, the onsite Bed and Breakfast offers eleven suites each inspired by grand hotels in Europe.
The winery also hosts a number of events like Harvest Festival weekends where you can take part in the grape harvest, stomp grapes, and enjoy brunch. They also host murder mystery dinners and special tasting events throughout the year.

We picked up a few bottles to bring home and headed back home, as we pulled onto the highway, I closed the roof, and switched back to comfort mode, the Bentayga becomes a quiet retreat, smooth, lacking any road or wind noise. The perfect highway cruiser. In town, the Bentayga is surprisingly easy to drive, thanks to its array of sensors, cameras, and bird’s eye view display parking in even tight spots is possible. In a less ostentatious color, the Bentayga could fly under the radar providing unmatched luxury without drawing unwanted attention. The Speed is the perfect luxury SUV for Texas, a vehicle that makes a statement pulling up to the Houston Grand Opera and is capable of taking the dirt road out to the ranch for the weekend, plus… it will even tow a two-horse trailer.

The Gentleman Racer by Michael Satterfield

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