The 30th Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, "A Toast to 3-0", celebrates the fine wine and some of the finest food in the islands.
It's that time of year again! Hosted by Master Sommelier Fred Dame, Kapalua Resort's legendary Kapalua Wine and Food Festival celebration takes place this June 9-12.
Friday and Sunday nights are the standout events the Festival is known for, but for newcomers, they should know the festival include so much more: tastings, classes, a wine maker's dinner, and even a golf tournament.
Amongst the tastings, I'm particularly looking forward to "Three Decades of Reserve Cab", a tasting featuring Beringer, Cardinale, Jordan and Silver Oak Wineries, with selections from the 80's, 90's and 2000's. But if Cabs aren't your thing, there's "Pinots Meet Cheese"-with the ever popular Kent Torrey of The Cheese Shop in Carmel paired with a variety of Pinots from Etude, Krutz Family Vineyards, Lachini Vineyards, and Sapphire Hill Vineyards. "You say Shiraz, I say Syrah" is a battle between the wines of Penfolds, Pepper Bridge, Scherrer, Waters and Wind Gap from Australia and the United States. Or, if you'd like to tour California without ever getting in your car, "A Drive Up Hwy 101" explores the wines of Carlisle, Justin, LIttorai, Patz & Hall, Pisoni, Ramey and Williams-Selym."
The Festival also offers a lunch event with a celebrated local chef, "Farm Fresh with Chef Peter Merriman", offers a four course menu of locally produced island fare and (of course) wine pairings from Ehlers and Freixenet. Merriman has two restaurants here on Maui: Monkeypod Kitchen and Merriman's Kapalua.
Friday night is the famous Grand Tasting: "A Toast to 3-0", featuring over two hundred wines from regions around the world, and the cuisine of local culinary stars and the freshest local ingredients from members of the Maui County Farm Bureau.
Saturday, between festivals and tastings, enjoy the intimacy of the Winemaker's Dinner. The location and participating winery have yet to be announced, but each year, this is the event about which I hear the most rave reviews.
The Festival winds down with my favorite event: the Maui Seafood Festival, held on the Beach House Lawn of the Ritz-Carlton. The grand finale features Maui's top chefs in one of the loveliest settings in the island, overlooking Flemming Beach. I love mingling with friends, sampling the great seafood (and a little wine!), all while the sun sets over the water. It just can't be beat!
Individual tickets are available, or you may go all out with a four day festival pass. Purchase tickets online at kapalua.com or call 808-665-9160
*Kama'aina discounts available through May 31, must call to provide valid HI driver's license.