31st Kapalua Wine and Food Festival: Mingle and drink with master sommeliers and winemakers June 8-10, 2012

Courtesy of Kapalua Wine and Food Festival

Back when the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival started, 31 years ago, California wines were a brand new industry and food and wine festivals were hardly the extravaganzas they are now. KWFF (originally dubbed the Kapalua Wine Symposium) was a geek-out session for winemakers and aficionados. Now, oenophiles can still get technical with master sommeliers and winemakers at KWFF, but it's also a fun way for newbies to expand their wine palate. For the upcoming KWFF (June 8 through 10), both neophytes and the experienced can learn through seminars like one featuring Pinot from the five California wine growing regions; a seminar on organic vines; and tastings of Spanish wines. 

And of course, what is wine without food? KWFF is bookended by grazing extravaganzas featuring Maui restaurants, but my favorite experiences are the winemaker dinners: On Saturday, you'll have to choose among a four-course dinner at The Banyan Tree, paired with La Sirena Wines, with winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett in attendance; a dinner with Gary Pisoni, winemaker and grower in the Santa Lucia highlands of California, at Merriman's Kapalua; or dinner with Fred Scherrer from Sonoma County's Scherrer Winery at The Plantation House Restaurant. 

Other exciting news for this year's fest: the guest chef for Saturday's cooking demonstration will be Ron Siegel, chef of Parallel 37 in San Francisco's Ritz Carlton.

June 8-10, check out the schedule of event and buy tickets at kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com