Kapalua Food & Wine Festival
Thursday-Sunday, June 9-12
The Kapalua Wine and Food Festival celebrates 30 years on Maui with their annual celebration of great wines of the world and the cuisine of Maui. (That means I wasn’t even 21 for the first one, I’m pleased to report.) The wine industry has come a long way over the last three decades, with tremendous growth in the United States. In 1985, America had 712 wineries; today there are more than 4,000.
The Kapalua event has long been known for its Friday kick-off party, the Grande Tasting, which features hundreds of wines. New to the festival this year is a three-hour-long wine intro course on Thursday. Friday brings the festival golf tournament at the Bay Course and the Cab tasting. Saturday means more wine tasting seminars, and festival wine dinners. On Sunday there’ll be more seminars, Farm Fresh with Peter Merriman and the finale, the Maui Seafood Festival, with live entertainment from An Den.
Today, passion for and knowledge of wine is no longer reserved for the elite. Wines grown around the world are more approachable than ever, and Kapalua aims to aid in people’s palette education with the Guild of Sommeliers introductory class on Thursday, targeting local food and beverage professionals. Here attendees, under the guidance of Master Sommeliers, will take a tour of the wine growing regions of the world. There will be lively discussions led by the masters, some of whom are experts on specific regions.
The Grande Tasting has a new taste too, incorporating our island bounty. A who’s-who social gathering, the event features over 200 bottles from around the world. The Friday night party follows the farm to table trend by partnering with the Maui County Farm Bureau and pairing our talented island chefs with our equally skilled farmers.
Under the splendor of the Ritz Carlton’s Aloha Garden Pavilion, explore an insane combination of chefs, farmers and wine. The wine stations—which number in the hundreds—include a “Tour of California” selected by festival host Fred Dame, “Southern Hemisphere” selected by Master Sommelier Andrew McNamara, “Pacific Northwest Wines” and “European Wines” selected by Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher and “Sparkling Wines” selected by Larry Stone.
So raise a glass, loosen your belt and prepare for a taste sensation 30 years in the making.