Traditionally, Maui has been famous for various forms of “relaxing libations”, but until fairly recently, wine hasn’t been one of them. Luckily for us, the road to Hana now has a new stop, Maui’s Winery.
Featuring enough wines (about 8 variations) to make for a very interesting tasting, this attraction is a perfect diversion during an island drive. Their repertoire actually includes white, rose, and red wines. There is also a sparkler and an after-dinner sweetie. Of course, their top seller is a pineapple wine, and as expected, this sweet one is loaded with pineapple notes.
Actually, Mani’s Winery has done quite a good job, even with their red wines. The Ulupalakua Red and the Plantation Red (a big soft Syrah with 15.4% alcohol) each have supple characters. Both reds feature big bouquets with plenty of toast and tobacco along with ripe raspberry fruit. The tannins are mellow and the tendency toward a peppery finish lends itself well to pairing with an appetizer platter of assorted meats.
The property also has a colorful history, making their guided tour quite appealing, especially considering the stories about Hawaiian royalty originally selecting this site for their “entertaining”. Although grapes are a recent addition to the area’s cultivation, the site’s low rainfall and wonderful soil composition add a complexity that’s definitely their own.
Also, there are plenty of staff members available in the tasting room to help explain what goes into the somewhat unusual blends that they have conjured up, while everyone is enjoying either the “traditional” or “sweet” flight. But even if you aren’t a sweet wine fan, be sure to get a pour of the pineapple wine, just to say you tried it.
Their daily schedule of 10am-5pm makes it easy to work it into a day-long tour. The road is paved, but there are curves and dips as you skirt the volcano’s lower slopes while looking over the bay and islands below . This is definitely a designated driver situation should you decide to take a bottle outside to enjoy with a snack.