Last year, Four Seasons, Four Pinots was uncorked in Wailea. Wine connoisseurs bubbled over with enthusiasm about such a new and exciting event with one of the most food-friendly of varietals.
Never resting on their laurels, the Four Seasons Resort Maui's team decided to morph and expand the event to include other top varietals. So now, it's called the Vintage Wine Weekend.
"The lineup of wines just doesn't get any better," says the resort's Executive Chef Roger Stettler.
The Oceanfront Gala will be staged overlooking the beach May 26 with live music by Makana.
Photos courtesy Four Seasons Resort Maui
"I've gotten to know these winemakers and they are so humble, yet they produce some of the best wines in the world. It's like meeting an A-list actor who happens to be down to earth."
The three-day party is under the auspices of Four Seasons' Unforgettable Events series, featuring both master sommeliers and top vintners.
Master sommelier hosts include Chuck Furuya and Roberto Viernes of Oahu fame. Wineries and their owners are Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne, Donald Patz of Patz & Hall, Gary Burk of Costa de Oro, Steve Clifton of Brewer-Clifton, Van Williamson of Witching Stick and Laurent Martelet of Domaine de Cherisey.
Vintage Wine Weekend fast facts:
The dates: The fun will transpire Memorial Day weekend from Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26 with key events.
Location: Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea.
Private Cellar: The weekend will kick off on Friday, May 24 with a VIP event in a private suite spreading out onto the Lokelani Lawn. Bring a bottle of Burgundy or pinot noir and share. Cost of $195 per person, plus tax and gratuity, includes gourmet food and rare library wines.
Feasts: On Saturday, May 25, dinners will flow at Spago, Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante and DUO Steak and Seafood with two winemakers at each restaurant. Cost is $115, plus tax and gratuity.
Oceanfront Gala: Situated above the beach, the finale event will have 40 exclusive wines, 10 food and farm action stations, and live Hawaiian slack-key music by Makana. Cost is $165, plus tax and gratuity.
For reservations: Call the Four Seasons concierge at 874-8000.
It's an A-list lineup, for sure.
"We're really super excited about Laurent coming all the way from France just for this series," says Stettler.
The weekend starts with a VIP "Private Cellar" event, inspired by La Paulee, which is a famous celebration in Burgundy where winemakers compete with each other to bring the best bottle of wine.
"It's like a family get together at one of our best suites," says Stettler. "It will spread out onto the suite's private lawn. It will be very exclusive yet family style with foods set out on communal tables."
Guests are encouraged to join the vintners, master sommeliers and the hotel in bringing their own bottle of Burgundy or pinot noir with the spirit of this friendly competition in mind. Plus, the hotel will come on strong with a rare selection of library wines from its cellar, accompanied by an unforgettable menu created by Stettler.
On Saturday, wine lovers may take part in one of three winemaker dinners at Spago, Ferraro's and DUO Steak and Seafood at the resort.
"The second night is all about the dinners, and we'll feature two winemakers at each of the restaurants," says Stettler. "This year, there won't be any daytime classes. Just the trade tasting at 11 a.m. Saturday. It's a bonus for the three-day event holders, and we'll have the vintners on stage and a lively panel discussion."
The Vintage Wine Weekend will put on its biggest party with the Oceanfront Gala on Sunday, May 26, featuring 40 exclusive wines and action stations set up across the wide lawn, and Makana will play Hawaiian slack key.
Walk around the beautiful grounds and mingle with the stellar winemakers as you indulge in island fish crudos, poke, sushi and tempura, for starters.
"It will really be a farm-to-table concept," says Stettler. "The farmers are invited again this year, such as Lehua and David Fitch of Malama Farms in Haiku."
They raise Berkshire pigs and Stettler will spit roast a whole pig and serve with lilikoi barbecue sauce and steamed buns.
Calvin Leong of Honolulu Fish Auction will once again bring a spectacular display of sea creatures, and farmer Zuhair Tamimi of Zuhair's Tomatoes in Haiku will bring his black, red and yellow fruits that will be made into Caprese salads with fresh burrata cheese and herbs.
"We'll also feature the farmers from Beef & Blooms, the only certified organic beef grower in the island."
Surfing Goat Dairy of Kula will be there with cheeses, Maui Olive Oil Co. will do a tasting with pickled vegetables, handcrafted salumi and more, and Waipoli Aquaponic Farm will bring lettuces for an outstanding array of salads.
Adaptations, Inc. will bring fresh veggies, Hamakua Mushroom Farm will contribute fungi for polenta and gnocchi, Outrigger Pizza Co. will do wood-fired pies and desserts by the expert pastry staff will round it off the gala evening."It's going to be a spectacular event and it will be for years to come," says Stettler.