KAPALUA - Maui's most magical weekend is fast approaching: the 33rd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival presented by Visa Signature from June 12-15, 2014. Held at various locations throughout the legendary Kapalua Resort, the weekend features highly acclaimed winemakers, celebrity chefs and Maui's finest culinary talents in a host of fun-filled events and tastings.
This year's kick-off event, "The Grand Tasting," moves its location back to its historic roots. The newly opened Montage Kapalua Bay, which sits on the site of the former Kapalua Bay Hotel and is the original location for the inaugural Kapalua Wine & Food Symposium in 1981, will host the Kapalua Resort restaurants in a feast for the senses.
Set for Friday, June 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., The Grand Tasting will be held on the property's ocean front lawn and feature the culinary delights of The Plantation House, Pineapple Grill, Merriman's Kapalua, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua and Montage Kapalua Bay. Special guests will include an international pavilion of the specialty foods and wines of New Zealand as well as Whole Foods Market. Ukulele virtuoso Aidan James will provide headline entertainment.
Also featured this year will be celebrity chefs Dean Fearing of Fearing's Restaurant in Dallas and Mark Tarbell of Tarbell's in Phoenix.
Chef Fearing will pair his "elevated" new American cuisine with the award-winning wines of David Arthur Vineyards for a delightful tasting luncheon on Sunday, June 15.
Chef Tarbell, the only winning competitor on the fifth season of "Iron Chef America," was classically trained in France for wine and food and has received numerous accolades and awards, including being nominated as "Best Chef-Southwest" by the James Beard Foundation.
Chef Tarbell brings his passion for creating clean and natural seasonal American cuisine and love of fine wine together in a fun-filled, taste extravaganza paired with the wines of Talbott Vineyards on Saturday, June 14.
This year's seminars are highlighted by the international focus on the wines of New Zealand and Italy.
Hosted by Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, "A Journey through Emerging Regions" of New Zealand's North and South Islands on Friday, June 13, allows guests to taste some of this island nation's finest red and white wines from several different varietals. These unique regions - some established, some quite new - are presented by visiting New Zealand winemakers. Participating wineries include Craggy Range, Pyramid Valley Vineyards, Misha's Vineyard, Fromm Estate and Villa Maria.
On Sunday, June 15, "The Italians are Coming" seminar features a quartet of true superstar, game-changing Italian winemakers. Visiting from Piemonte in the northwest of Italy will be La Spinetta, a highly acclaimed Barolo/Barbaresco specialist, and Braida, a revolutionary Barbera superstar. From Tuscany, Ciacci Picolomini, one of the top echelon Brunello di Montalcino stars, and the legendary Vittorio Fiore (Poggio Scalette), one of Italy's most iconic, influential winemaking consultants of all time, will also be joining the panel. Wineries include Ciacci Picolomini, Braida, La Spinetta and Poggio Scalette.
Major sponsors for the 2014 event include Visa Signature, Kapalua Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, The Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui Visitors Bureau, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser/HI Luxury Magazine, New Zealand Winegrowers & Trade Commission and Alaska Airlines.
Tickets are on sale now, with a limited number of kama'aina tickets also being offered through May 31. For information on the schedule of events or to purchase tickets or accommodations packages available at the resort properties, visit www.kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com.
The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival was established in 1981 by the not-for-profit Kapalua Wine Society. The festival was created to educate and foster the appreciation of culinary exploration, fine wine and specifically Hawaii culinary products and purveyors, as well as showcase Maui's natural beauty and promote tourism to the island.
This edu-culinary event, now known as The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, is the oldest festival of its kind in the nation and coming up on its 33rd anniversary in 2014.
For the past several years, the festival has been operated under the nonprofit Kapalua Maui Charities, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the University of Hawaii Maui College culinary program.
The festival's long-standing relationships and partnerships within the industry help to bring some of the most renowned winemakers and celebrity chefs to participate. Past participants include winemakers Robert Mondavi, Bob Cabral, Mia Klein and Philippe Melka, and chefs Dean Fearing, Michael Mina, Gary Danko and more.
In addition, a dedicated following of attendees come from both within the state, Mainland U.S. and international countries.