The 31st annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival will be filled to the brim with fun and excitement this year.
In fact, the oldest wine and food event in the nation is far from running its course. And, now that The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua has taken over from Kapalua Resort, it's even picking up steam.
For starters, VISA has been secured as a three-year sponsor, Heidi Peterson Barrett, aka "the first lady of wine" leads the stellar line up of winemakers, Henry Kapono will perform at the Grand Tasting, and an "Iron Chef" will wow your taste buds in a cooking demo and luncheon.
Sip premium and rare wines from regions around the world and savor Kapalua cuisine from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Grand Tasting, to be held oceanfront on the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s Beach House Lawn.
KAPALUA WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL photo
"Our property is once again proud to offer a stunning backdrop for such a high-caliber connoisseur's event," says Tom Donovan, vice president and general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
"We're really excited that this is coming together so nicely. Parts of this year's event are really unique. Things you just haven't seen before."
Kamaaina should take note there will be a limited number of discounted tickets on sale through today. So jump on the horn to toast to a very good year.
The festival is available as a four-day event package or you may purchase tickets for individual functions a la carte.
Teeing off daytime events Friday, June 8 will be the Festival Golf Tournament played by winemakers, speakers and guests on the Bay Course with a complimentary awards lunch to follow. Other highlights that day will include the Pinot Noir Superstars seminar hosted by Master Sommelier Michael Jordan with such greats as Bob Cabral, last year's "Winemaker Of The Year;" TJ Evans of Domaine Carneros; Gary Pisoni of Pisoni; James Ontiveros of Native 9; and Fred Scherrer of Scherrer Vineyards.
Then it will be time to indulge in the Grand Tasting, with over 100 wines from around the world and cuisine by chefs from the Ritz's Banyan Tree and Kai Sushi restaurants along with Merriman's Kapalua, Sansei Seafood & Sushi Bar, Pineapple Grill and the Plantation House.
"Friday night is going to be an outstanding demonstration of innovative talent within Kapalua Resort," says Donovan. "It will be totally Kapalua centric."
On Saturday, June 9, highlights are the Organic Vines Make Better Wines seminar; Cooking Demo and Lunch with Ron Siegal, the first American to be featured on "Iron Chef;" Tasting of Wines of Heidi Peterson Barrett; sparkling wine and spa tour; and various festival winemaker dinners (see side bar story, below).
Sunday, June 10 kicks off with a Tasting of Premium Spanish Wines, Ritz Wine Tour at various locations; Kings of Cabernet panel with heavyweights such as Frog's Leap, Ramey, Plumpjack, David Arther and Hill Family Estates.
The grand finale, as usual, will be the Seafood Festival, only this year, it will be held oceanfront where it belongs, according to The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Executive Chef John Zaner.
Enjoy wines, beer and spirits, rub elbows with winemakers and dance to live music by Nuffsedd. Pair it with food from 17 top Maui restaurants. For tickets, you may visit www.kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com.