Kapalua Wine & Food Festival: A Study In Fine Wines & Cuisine, As Told By The Masters

Kapalua Wine & Food Festival: A Study In Fine Wines & Cuisine, As Told By The Masters

The 26th annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival has been announced, and will officially take place on June 28 – July 1, 2007, on Maui. An event we have yet to miss the last 3 years, it's a study in pacing yourself for the best quality food and wine in one place, for four days, anywhere on the Hawaiian Island chain. Throw in a few celebrity chef demonstrations, a blind tasting with 3 master sommeliers, a cheese-and-wine tasting with Kent Torrey of The Cheese Shop in Carmel Valley, California, golf and tennis tournaments – and you had us at "pace yourself."

The organizers of the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival tend to attract no less than 8 of our nation's 72 master sommeliers, each of whom are readily available to converse with attendees on anything from wine to golf to your spouses penchant for oaky California chardonnays. Seriously. They love to chat – it's what they get paid to do.

In 2007, Michael Mina will be the featured celebrity guest chef to show off his award-winning cuisine. Sign up for his lunch demonstration ($125 per person), and you can learn how to prepare a few of his signature dishes at home. MS Fred Dame hosts the weekend, and makes good use of his whimsical energy that always adds an enthusiastic and comical element to the entire weekend affair.

Highlights include the Saturday evening Seafood Festival, where choice restaurants from around the State of Hawaii present demi-plates of their top dishes, while wine distributors fight amongst themselves to keep your glass full of the best pressed grape on the market. Toss in a live band, and it's a must-do.

A quick peruse of the accommodation options (which has been shrinking since the Kapalua Bay Hotel was demolished), revealed the best bet is to purchase a Kapalua Bay Gold Villa rental package, inclusive of two 4-day passes to the festival. The Gold Villas are spectacularly appointed since renovations began a year and a half ago, while some of the older villas show some fairly sizable wear and tear, not to mention outdated designing. Gold Villas begin with one-bedrooms at $2,936 for two, June 28 through July 1. Oceanfront, two-bedroom units go up to $5,732 for the period, still inclusive of a pair of weekend passes to all events. However, rates do not include an $18 "resort fee" per day.

An added perk? The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua, will close its doors the minute the festival is over for a 6-month renovation and transformation, as it transforms half the hotel's rooms in to "Residential Suites", and upgrades the remaining half to match. Fine wines and sledge hammers – who could ask for a better party! (Just kidding.)

Visit www.kapalua.com for more information on the event.

"Each of the dozen or so attending master sommeliers are readily available to converse with attendees on anything from wine to golf."