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Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, this weekend, Maui


You can go to Kapalua Wine & Food Festival to learn about wine--and have a whole of fun doing so.

Courtesy Kapalua

Thirty years ago, the wine scene in Hawaii sucked. None other than Robert Mondavi once told me you could hardly get a decent bottle of wine here, and if you did, it wouldn't be the right temperature.

One reason the scene improved: the Kapalua Wine Symposium, as it was called in the early days, brought major winemakers and many Island wine pros and connoisseurs together for tastings, discussions and, admittedly, some major wine consumption over four days.

The festival continues, now with a strong food component as well. You can take a nod to history as the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend.

Or you can just have fun.

Highlights include the Friday night's Grand Tasting, with more than 200 wines, and Sunday's Maui Seafood Festival (below) with top Maui chefs and, of course, winemakers pouring their wares.

In addition, there are seminars on syrah and reserve cabernets, wine "tours" of California Pacific Coast highway, and even a seminar on pinot noir paired with cheese. (Alas, news just came in that both the cabernet and pinot seminars are sold out.)

The festival chef is Peter Merriman, who will do a cooking demonstration and luncheon with Maui grown ingredients. And 10, yes 10, different winemaker dinners on Saturday night.

Congratulations to Kapalua for the longest-running and arguably the most influential wine and food festival in the Islands. Everyone who can now get a decent bottle of wine with dinner at a Hawaii restaurant, owes Kapalua a thank you.

Festival information: (800) KAPALUA or by clicking here.

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