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Wine tasting in Ulupalakua

I would venture to say that it’s practically common knowledge that upcountry Maui is home to pristine wine vineyards. And what better place than the rolling hills of Ulupalakua to grow, nurture and discover the art that is winemaking.

As a couple of young ladies with no plans on a Friday afternoon, an adventure along Piilani Highway led us to Maui Wine. Up here the air is crisp, cool and abundant with refreshing notes of pine, lavender and green grass. With tastings everyday from 10am-5:30pm and 30 minute tours held at 10:30am and 1:30pm we were excited to see what was in store for us, two local girls looking to discover something new and something fun.

We wandered into the King’s Cottage ready for a complimentary tasting. Greeted with smiles, freshly washed and polished wine glasses you are welcome to stand, sip and ask questions. From bubbly to sweet and then to dry, the wines are handcrafted and staff all know the intimate details of each one.

The featured tastings include Maui Wine’s popular Pineapple Wines, Estate Wines and Rose Ranch Wines. I’ve had the famous pineapple wine before and had received it as a gift for Christmas. It’s very sweet but a nice drinkable wine, goes well with Asian-inspired semi-spicy foods here in Hawaii.

I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere in the tasting room and the magnificent 18-foot bar created by a massive solid mango tree. The ladies offering the tastings were knowledgeable, approachable and very relaxed. You sense a great feeling of pride while you’re here on this property which have been managed for generations by the close-nit community.

The grounds are breathtaking and if you have some time I would recommend going on the complimentary tour. You learn about this historic location which dates back to 1870’s and learn of its history and relation to King Kalakaua.
Rich in tradition and pride, you can see the historic winery location sits about 2,000 feet above sea level and is also home to an array of enduring trees and an impeccable lush grounds. This area is perfect for an afternoon stroll or luxurious special event.
A featured highlight and also part of it’s own private tour (if you choose to pay for an in-depth tour and/or tasting) is the “Old Jail”. Once the office of a former whaling captain this lava rock constructed structure also served as the jailhouse during the plantation days.
30 tons of fresh Maui-grown pineapple make their way from Haliimaile to Ulupalakua. The rind and shells are fed to nearby cattle and also crushed for Pau Vodka as well.
The winery makes 25,000 cases of pineapple wine a year and everything is made in stainless steel tanks then infused with oak chips.
Using the stainless steel to hold and then ferment the wine micro oxygenation is also used to enhance the taste, texture, aroma and flavor of the wines. They grow 6 grape varietals in the nearby vineyards.
The special Maui Wine Estate Collection is only available at the winery and they say their Maui pineapple wines are “perfected” here in Ulupalakua and made no where else.

Overall, this was a delightful experience. We spent about an hour on property and this included the complimentary wine tasting and the free tour. My friend in turn bought some wine-inspired gifts from the gift shop and we felt a sense of pride to be able to support a locally grown and nurtured business. While no food is served here, you can cross the street to the Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill where they sell plate lunches, sandwiches, burgers and other snacks.

Maui Wine
14815 Piilani Highway
Kula, HI 96790
(808) 878-6058

Inter-Island Travel for Olena is brought to you by Island Air.
Travel Accommodations provided by Maui Coast Hotel. 

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About Olena Heu

Olena is Executive Editor, Food & Lifestyle at MAUIWatch. The founder of Olena Heu Communications, a social media, digital marketing, consulting and freelance writing company, Olena holds a BA and MA in Communication and Speech from Hawaii Pacific University. An adjunct professor, lecturer and motivational speaker Olena is also an award winning journalist, writer, photographer and avid traveler.

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