Side Orders • May 19, 2016

ON THE GRAPEVINE . . . Just got back from the fabulous food city of San Francisco and the ultra-juicy wine region of Sonoma, Calif.

No, I didn’t hear that Napa is an auto parts store. But someone did say that it’s a four-letter word, so we steered clear of it this trip. Now that I’m back on island, I see that there will be barrels of wine events flowing here this month and beyond.

So as it turns out, there really was little reason to tour wine country at all. It appears that many of the world’s best wineries are coming here.

First up will be the Best of Makena at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Molokini Bar & Grill. Sip from a Super Tuscan to Spumante to Barberi d’Asti paired with smoked Hokkaido scallops, Kobe beef, foie-gras French toast and dessert of baked Hawaii (like baked Alaska) – along with several other stellar pairings.

Executive Chef Kurt Lesmerises is holding down the fort admirably with these fun dinners before Makena Beach & Golf Resort closes July 1. Cost of the Best of Makena is $130 per person. Call 875-5888.

At Spago Maui at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, a group of prominent Italian winemakers and/or proprietors will be on hand from 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 26 for the Viva Vino Italiano Food & Wine Experience.

“Chambers & Chambers wine merchants are hosting the event with Wailea Wine at Spago,” says C&C certified sommelier James Maher. “This is a station event featuring 23 different wines from some of Italy’s top producers. They are all high-profile people coming to California and four of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Paula Ferraro of Bele Casel in Veneto will be joined by Luigi Perroni of La Fiorita in Montalcino; Carla Bocchio of Andrea Oberto in Piedmont; Paulo de Marchi of Isole e Olena, Tuscany; Sergio and Sebastiano Mottura of Sergio Mottura in Lazio; and Lucio Vignalta of Veneto. Wow! That’s a lotta vino power.

“These are small boutique producers,” continues Maher. “But they win the best of class in their various regions. Come hear the stories of the families and the estates of these iconic Italian wineries.”

There will be specially curated passed dishes by Spago Executive Chef Cameron Lewark. Cost is $75 per person. Call 874-8000.

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BITS AND PIECES Coming up at 5 p.m. May 28 will be Vinyasa and Veuve. It’s a 60-minute yoga class topped off with some fine champagne from house of Veuve Clicquot in France. Andaz Maui in Wailea and its Awili Spa and salon are bending over backwards for this fun event. Cost is $25 per person. Valet parking is complimentary. Reservations are required. Call 243-4800.

And save the date for Maui Calls on Aug. 19. Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s signature fundraiser is considered to be Maui’s premier wine and food tasting event by many who attend each year.

“Enjoy bountiful delectable pupu created by chefs from stellar Maui restaurants, paired with premium wines served by vintners from boutique wineries around the world,” says Lisa Haole, the MACC’s food and beverage co-manager. “Returning wine host is Alan Jahns.”

Tickets go on sale Friday. Call 242-7469 for individual tickets and 243-4225 for tables of 10. Or visit www.mauiarts.org.

Hot on the heels of the Maui Brewers Festival, Maui Brewing Co. plans to announce a bold new look, packaging and branding by the end of the month. Stay tuned for news on the transformation.

Veteran restaurateurs and native Texans Mike Hooks and Roy Dunn just sold the famous Beach House on the island of Kauai.

“The buyers are IP2,” says Dunn. “Bill Terry and Peter Merriman of the Monkeypod restaurants group. Bill is a young, nice, driven guy who seems like a perfect fit to take the property forward. After all these years, Mike and I are moving on to other things.”

On May 27, you may indulge in the 123 Organic Tequila Pairing Dinner with the company’s owner, in West Maui’s popular Mexican restaurant Sangrita Grill + Cantina. Hmm. . . the Maguey-wrapped lamb and the Negro Modelo crepes look crazy good. Maybe there is no need to travel to Mexico, either.