Most of us don’t have sufficient funds to hop on a plane to Italy tomorrow to spend a months’ worth of sunny days taking leisurely strolls through blooming fields of grapes, and evenings at twilit dinners followed by long nights of exquisite wines, foods, and music. As painfully true as that fact might be, it doesn’t mean you should pick up that same $7 bottle of Australian Red at Walmart every afternoon when life is all about variety, vivacity, and change. This little inspirational lecture of mine is hopefully enough to remind us that sometimes just a night of something different is just exactly the ticket to brighten up the routine. The Zinfandel Grand Tasting and Cook off will offer beautiful wines from Alexander Valley, Barefoot Cellars, Dogwood Cellars, Hunt Cellars, Leonhardt Vineyards, Mauritson Family, and more. The Maui Culinary Academy will accompany the array of wines with delicious, creative dishes presented by ten culinary students. Try the Foie Gras and Duck Meatballs, Phyllo Wrapped Herb Goat Cheese, Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin, or, if you’ve had enough adventuring for one day, hit up the tried and true Kalua Pork with poi mochi. So, for an evening of local luxury and good company – top winemakers will be mingling with the crowd – come to the Zinfandel Grand Tasting and Cookoff on Friday, May 21st at the Maui Culinary Academy. From 1-5pm the Complimentary Trade Tasting is open to Trade Buyers and Reps only. The public tasting and cookoff is from 6-8:30pm and is $45 for ZAP members, $55 for Non-members, and $65 at the door. Tickets at zinfandel.org or 530-274-4900.