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Wine and food festivals and events bubble over near and far

August 23, 2011 - Carla Tracy

While many Mauians are still lamenting that the Invitation to Foodies wine and chef festival in Makena over Labor Day weekend has been cancelled, there are plenty of other upcoming happenings to please our palates.

The fourth annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is set for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 – 4, and more than 200 Sonoma County wineries, grapegrowers and chefs are preparing for the three-day festival.

The Benziger Family Winery and the Dutton family of Dutton Ranch are the respective vintner and winegrape grower honorary chairs. They and others will host intimate lunches, barbecues and dinner parties—many held in private homes.

“Our family has farmed in Sonoma County for more than 130 years where the bounty of our property fills the kitchen and the table,” said Steve Dutton.

“We are hosting a rustic-yet-elegant ranch-style dinner party that will feature not only rare wines made from our vineyards, but also family recipes including homemade apple pie made from the fruit of our orchards.”

Other highlights include a poolside dinner with live acoustic guitar at the Arrowood Estate Guest House, an unforgettable high-altitude picnic at Hidden Ridge, and a sustainable lunch at Stone Edge Farm.

Tickets to all Sonoma Wine Country Weekend events are on sale now at Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Website.

Hot on the heels of the successful Kahala Wine Festival is the 8th annual Kahala Wine & Food Classic coming up Sept. 16 and 17 on Oahu.

“We're excited to be featuring guest chef Carolynn Spence of Hollywood's iconic Chateau Marmont hotel, which is known as a celebrity hotspot — kind of like the Kahala!” says the resort’s Public Relations Manager Charlie Aldinger. “Our visiting vintner is Rich Frank, owner of Frank Family Vineyards and prolific Hollywood producer. Frank Family Vineyards is one of the most popular wineries in Napa Valley.”

“The Wine & Food Classic weekend includes gourmet dinners, cooking demonstrations, and wineology semnars. If you love good food and wine, you'll enjoy attending these events.”

For reservations, call (808)-739-8760 or e-mail

The 15th annual Noble Chef is set for Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui in Wailea. It’s a benefit for Maui Culinary Academy at the UH Maui College in Kahului.

“This event was sold out last year quickly, get your tickets early,” says Kristin Hettermann, who is on the planning committee. “Celebrity Chef Stanton Ho coming in from Las Vegas to do an extravagant dessert buffet, unlike anything seen on Maui!

“The student mentorship program will lead up to an on-site competition at event where guests will engage in a live voting of favorite dishes. It’s a great price point for an elegant fundraising gala — only $150 a ticket.”

To reserve your seat, or to inquire about Patron and Premiere sponsorship benefits, please contact Marilyn Fornwall of the UH Foundation at: (808)-984-3261 or email


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Chef Carolyn Spence of Chateau Marmont