HOW TWEET IT WAS . . . iPhones were clicking and faces were smiling (many with red wine-stained teeth) as tweets went all over the world about just how inspiring the 32nd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival was.
Young's Market Co., distributor of fine wines and spirits, definitely kicked up the festival this year with Bloody Mary bars, Bombay Sapphire martinis, ports and Tito's handmade vodka tables.
I'm guessing this was my 30th consecutive KWFF, and as I walked about, I got juicy tidbits from the crowd. Here's a smidgeon of what I discovered.
Peju Winery ambassador Lisa Peju and Johnson Bros. distributor James Maher talk story at the Ritz’s trade tasting last Thursday.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Word has it that Tropica at Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will morph into the Sugar House Island Kitchen with a name branding change in July and physical design changes targeted for August.
Its Sugar Shack Rum Bar will serve freshly-squeezed local juices, perfectly executed mai tais and a drink or two in a fresh pineapple, while live tropical island reggae will fill the patio.
I spotted a blast from Kapalua's past, original cofounder of the festival, Christina Noah, looking ravishingly like Jill St. John, enjoying retirement.
Got restaurant / dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also met Richard Michaels and wife, Judith. He was the director of beloved TV classics such as "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch," along with TV movies such as "Sadat" and "Queen of Mean." The couple live here and say they read this column weekly. Thank you!
Distributor Alan Jahns, now of Paradise Beverages, was seen pouring wines at the Grand Tasting. He'll once again bring in top winemakers for Maui Calls on Friday, Aug. 9, at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
It's the MACC's signature fundraising gala with pupu created by stellar restaurants, fresh flower lei, auctions and lots of fab wines. For tickets, email email@example.com or call 243-4225.
Leo Mallari of Makena Beach & Golf Resort was there. The former Ritz F&B will throw an Alexander Valley Wine Dinner tonight at Makena's Cafe on the Green. Cost is $100 per person. Call 875-5888.
Carlo Mondavi of Continuum Estate in Napa Valley was a participant. He is the fourth generation of this famous wine family and he's been in the vineyards since the ripe age of five. He also tweeted up a storm about Kapalua, including about the golf tourney last Friday.
The Star Noodle team shot a score of 59, or 13 under par, to win at Kapalua Bay Course. They were publicist Kaala Buenconsejo and chefs Kaipo Nakata, Nacho Perez and James Cagal. Nakata has been named Star Noodle's new executive chef, replacing Sheldon Simeon, who was seen cooking at one of two Young's Market "after parties" at the Ritz's Banyan Tree.
David Allaire of TS Restaurants and wife Jackie were spotted. TS's Hula Grill Kaanapali just celebrated its 19th anniversary Friday with a big community affair.
The "who's who" of Maui's coffee industry were there, too, sipping wines, instead of java. They were MauiGrown Coffee's Kimo Falconer, Jeff Ferguson and Diane Boyd, as well as David Gridley of Maui Oma Coffee Roasting Co., who says that the statewide Coffee Cupping Competition will be brewing lots of interest July 21 on Kauai at Kauai Beach Resort.
Kaanapali Beach Resort Association's Executive Director Shelley Kekuna also enjoyed the festival. She will hit the ground running with the second annual Kaanapali Fresh Aug. 30 and 31.
It will feature a progressive dinner with ukulele music by Jake Shimabukuro, farmers market, ag tour celebrating 200 years of coffee in Hawaii, mixology party with a master mixologist; and a food and wine festival featuring Makana and Amy Hanaiali'i. Makana will only perform at events that have no affiliation with GMOs, or "genetically modified organisms."
I also hear Oahu's Hawaii Food & Wine Festival will launch its first neighbor island event Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.
Called Malama Maui, the event will feature Maui chefs Bev Gannon, "Top Chef" finalist Sheldon Simeon and the Hyatt's Gregory Grohowski, along with superstar guest chefs such as Hiroyuki Sakai of La Rochelle in Tokyo, Rick Tramonto of Tramonto Steak & Seafood in Wheeling, Ill., and Marrcel Vigneron of Modern Global Tasting, Inc. in Los Angeles.
Visit www.hawaiifoodfestival.com to read about the rest of Hawaii Food & Wine Festival that will run Sept. 5 to 9 at stellar Oahu properties.
Last, but not least, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua showed off its new chef-crafted masterpieces at The Terrace, many checked out the new Aina Gourmet Coffee lobby level, and GM and vice president Tom Donovan set the dates of June 5 to 8 for next year's festival. Cheers!