Updated: Dec 14, 2019
Did you know that Hawaii is not only home to several vineyards but it turns out that the wines that are produced there are pretty good? On this trip we decided to visit MauiWine.
Ulupalakua, a city of Maui, is home to MauiWine. MauiWine produces wines made from their 23 acre vineyard on the slopes of Haleakala, a dormant volcano. Their specialty is tropical based wines made from grapes and the famed Maui Gold pineapples along with other tropical fruits.
Most visitors being in the tasting room located in the King's Cottage. The King's Cottage is so called because it was built in 1874 specifically for the celebrated visits of King Kalakaua, last reigning King of Hawai'i. King Kalakaua was famous for many reasons; one reason was that he revived the Hula Dance that had been banned by missionaries.
If it is your first time here, I recommend taking a guided tour. Guests are invited to follow in the footsteps of Ali'i (royalty) and Paniolo (cowboys) on a guided tour of the historical grounds. These guided tours begin at 10:30am and 1:30pm.
The grounds are very pretty and very tropical. Combine good wine, good food, and heat and this would be a great place to find some shade and to take a nap. But first, off to Kings Cottage and the wine.
Our host was Jenny. She was very knowledgeable about both the wine and property history. Since she is also the one that gives the guided tours, we were able to ask a hundred questions. I am sure she was glad to see us move on after the tasting. LOL.
There are two main flights - the Tropical and the Diverse. We were experiencing record heat in Maui for this time of year. Since the Tropical selections were chilled, we choose to share the Tropical Flight consisting of Kula, Hula O Maui, Maui Blanc and Maui Splash.
They give you a tasting card with the selections and invite you walk around the tasting room where there are pictures of the history of the winery in a timeline setting so you can do your tour. If tours aren't your thing, you could sit out on the patio and just enjoy the day.
Maui’s only winery began in 1974 with a partnership between Pardee Erdman, owner of Ulupalakua Ranch, and Emil Tedeschi, who came from a family history of winemaking in Calistoga, California.
Emil Tedeschi of Tedeschi Vineyards established the winery on Erdman family lands. The winery experimented with pineapple wine and in 1977 released their Maui Blanc Pineapple Wine. In 1980 the first grapes were harvested. In 1984 Tedeschi's first grape product was released.
In 2009, the Erdman family made a historic land preservation agreement by preserving over 11,000 acres along the leeward slopes of Haleakala. The purpose was to assure the lands are protected for agricultural uses.
In 2005 the name was changed to MauiWines.
All the wines were very clean and crisp and good. The Kula, Hula O Maui, and Maui Blanc were certainly tasty. Each had its own distinct flavor and each with a hint of pinepapple. The Maui Splash was particularly good. It had a excellent crisp taste with just a hint of tropical fruit flavor - especially passion fruit. Jody called it a "pool-side" wine. She said it would be the perfect summer wine for sitting in the shallow end of a backyard pool.
After the tasting, we walked around the grounds. The Maui Splash was so good, that the flavor wouldn't leave my taste buds. I wanted more. I talked Jody into getting a full glass along with the cheese plate. We ordered a full glass. The pour was extremely generous (more than you see in the picture below.) After this glass was gone we ordered another.
To me, wine is very democratic. We vote with our pocketbooks. The fact we ordered two post tasting glasses says something. We decided that we would not have any shipped home but that we would find a distributor and pick up some for next summer. Your pocketbook is the real opinion of value.
The cheese plate was exceptional and the wine was a perfect fit. The peppers stuffed with goat cheese was simply amazing. The goat cheese is made right here on the island at Surfing Goat Dairy (See our review of that here.) The Maui Splash wine was a perfect compliment.
In summary, this was a side trip worth taking. The facility was gorgeous, the setting was amazing, the wine was very good (even for a guy who isn't particularly fond of sweet wines let alone white wines.)
My suggestion is that you do make the drive even though it is hard to get to and a ways away from the water. I would check the calendar to see if there are any special events happening while you are there. I could only image how beautiful it would be around sunset. To be there at sunset would make you feel like a King.
P.S. To get to the Winery, it is a long drive on a tight road. Please don't drink and drive. Do take a Uber/Lyft if you are planning to drink more than one glass. You don't want to end up in jail. But if you do end up in jail this is the one where I would like to be as it is now a special event room.