Kapalua Wine & Food Festival and its winemaker dinners cooking

Excitement is already bubbling over for the 33rd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival Friday through Sunday at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, the new Montage Kapalua Bay and resort restaurant venues.

Tickets for daytime seminars and evening Grand Tasting and Seafood Festival galas are being snapped up as fast as you can say, “Pisoni.”

Also featured this year will be celebrity chef luncheons, paired with winemakers. Last year, San Francisco’s famous Chef Gary Danko wowed the crowds.

Chef Mark Tarbell, the only winning competitor on the fifth season of “Iron Chef America,” will perform his chef demo lunch from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (Side Orders).

He was classically trained in France for wine and food and has received numerous accolades awards including being nominated as “Best Chef -American Southwest” by the James Beard Foundation.

“Chef Tarbell brings his passion for creating clean and natural seasonal American cuisine and his love of fine wine together in a fun-filled, taste extravaganza paired with the wines of Talbott Vineyards,” says event host and Master Sommelier Michael Jordan.

Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas will pair what he calls his “elevated new American cuisine” with the award-winning wines of David Arthur Vineyards during his demo lunch on Sunday at the Ritz.

As happens every year, winemaker dinners will be held at various resort restaurants Saturday evening.

This year, Montage Kapalua Bay will pair Fearing in a $350 per person exclusive dinner with Kosta Browne and Williams Selyem’s winemakers.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will put on the Jackson Family of Fine Wines dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday with “Winemaker Of The Year 2013” Jeff Stewart. Sip from Stonestreet to Chateau Lassegue St. Emilion Grand Cru paired with the fresh local island cuisine. Cost is $150, plus tax and tip. Call 669-6200.

Also on Saturday, Merriman’s will present Italy’s revered la Spinetta Winery and winemaker Giorgio Rivetta. Cost is $150 for the four course feast. Plantation House will present Dan Morgan lee of Morgan Winery with foods by Rising Star Chef Jojo Vasquez. Call 669-6299.

The Seafood Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Ritz’s Beach House Lawn will showcase 15 of Maui’s top chefs, music by Nuff Sedd, wines and spirits.

But it’s not all about wine and gourmet food. You may sip a welcome Bombay Sapphire Eastern Star cocktail Friday at the Grand Tasting; and enjoy Maui’s own Pau Vodka from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday during the Wine Tours at Montage as you shuttle around the resort. Yes, Kapalua is gearing up to be a very good year, indeed.

For complete schedule, menus or to purchase tickets, visit www.kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com.