Kapalua Wine & Food Festival uncorked

Sip fine wines, savor gourmet cuisine, listen to music, learn a little and have a lot of fun at the granddaddy of ’em all, the 33rd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.

Presented by Visa Signature, the festival many say is the oldest wine and food event in the nation will be uncorked from June 12 to 15 at the new Montage Kapalua Bay and The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua and other resort locations with acclaimed winemakers, star chefs and top musical talents at the fun-filled tastings and galas.

“This festival truly has a great vibe,” says host and Master Sommelier Michael Jordan. “It’s the favorite for winemakers to attend as well as showcase their premium vintages and share their stories.

“Our goal every year is to surpass the fun and festivities from the year prior – and I have no doubt we will top the stellar success of 2013.”

Weekend highlights include interactive wine tasting seminars from such celebrated wine regions as California’s Russian River Valley, the Santa Lucia Highlands and the state of Washington.

International wines from Italy and New Zealand will be represented, and sipped, at several venues.

Hosted by Jordan, the seminar, “A Journey through Emerging Regions of New Zealand’s North and South Islands,” will flow from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Friday, June 13, at The Ritz’s main ballroom.

Attendees will taste some of this island nation’s finest red and whites from several different varietals. These unique regions – some established, some quite new, will be presented by visiting kiwi winemakers from wineries such as Craggy Range, Pyramid Valley Vineyards, Misha’s Vineyard, Villa Maria and Fromm Estate.

On Sunday, June 15, “The Italians are Coming” seminar features a quartet of true game-changing Italian winemakers, Jordan enthuses.

“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 legendary Vittorio Fiore (Poggio Scalette) one of Italy’s most iconic, influential winemaking consultants of all time, will also be joining the panel.”

Celebrity Chefs Dean Fearing and Mark Tarbell will wow guests with demo lunches paired with winemakers.

Trained in French cooking, Tarbell, who owns Tarbell’s in Phoenix, is the winner on the fifth season of “Iron Chef America, and is a “Best Chef Southwest” nominee of the James Beard Foundation. He’ll team with Talbott Vineyards for his demo-luncheon on Saturday, June 14. Fearing’s demo-lunch is June 15. You may also hop on shuttles to take you on wine tours on June 15.

Last week, Scene featured the Montage Kapalua Bay as this year’s host of the Grand Tasting. It will flow with hundreds of wines and gourmet cuisine June 13.

You may also attend winemaker dinners at Kapalua Resort restaurants; hop aboard shuttles for wine tours at various venues; and dive into the Seafood Festival at The Ritz’s Beach House Lawn on June 15.

Festival Director Karin Sagar tells us that the new participating restaurants are Mala Wailea and MiGRANT and Andaz Maui’s Ka’ana Kitchen and Morimoto, Alan Wong’s Amasia and others will be there at various stations. Nuff Sedd will get the crowd going and wine will flow.