When I sent out the inquiry to the local liquor producers looking for news and updates for my recent post, Booze News You Can Use, I got such a long response from Maui’s Winery that I knew it deserved its own post.
“There’s actually quite a lot of new things happening up here!”, shared Joseph Hegele, the winery’s Director of Marketing. “We have a new brand releasing soon, new company logo, new website, reopening the old jail as a 2nd tasting room for all the new estate wines, new tour offerings, events and more!”
(Maui Made Note: Stay tuned here for news as these details are released! And make sure you are following the Winery on Facebook)
My first inquiry was about the damage from Hurricane Iselle, as Ulupalakua took the brunt of the storm’s force.
“We were lucky in a lot of ways, but Iselle got us pretty bad,” Hegele continued, “the grounds will be under repair and going through improvements for several months, an incredible new rock wall is being built around the perimeter of the winery grounds to replace the white picket that was demolished, we’re going to come out looking good. The 2014 harvest of Malbec, Grenache, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, and Gewürztraminer came in before Iselle but we had a little over 13 tons of Syrah left on the vine. The was no damage to the fruit luckily but with all that weight and 100 mile an hour gusts, the rows were like sails. We had entire rows of syrah that were laying flat on the ground, probably 50% of the 6 acres (50 rows) were at 45 degree angle or lying down. We harvested a few days before we had planned to, again no fruit damage, and surprisingly no root or stock damage, they bent but did not break or uproot.”
“The entire 6 acres will have to be restaked and retrellised, still we celebrated the most successful harvest we’ve ever had and on our 40th year anniversary, and that’s the beauty of wine, its farming and we are at mercy of mother nature. We did open up this years Syrah harvest to the public last minute, after Iselle we needed to get the grapes off the vine asap, with 24 hours notice we had 16 volunteers, 22 the next day, and 24 the last… incredible! There were even people that came to the winery the day after Iselle without even being asking to help clean the winery grounds and all the fallen trees and mess.”
“Forty years of trial and error and 3 replantings has this place producing quality fruit with place driven personality. In the past because of the experimental nature of the vineyard, unique challenges growing vinifera here in Hawaii, replantings, waiting for maturity we’ve had many years without estate wines at all or maybe just a couple hundred cases of one varietal. This year’s harvest will result in a traditional saignée Grenache Rosé, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, extended tirage Chenin Blanc sparkling, Malbec, Grenache, and Syrah. We’re still very small in the wine world but the vineyard is doing so well that we’ll be increasing estate wine production by 10 fold in a matter of just a few years. For being 40 years old, the vineyard is young and very healthy and it’s been fascinating to discover over the last couple years what personality these varietals exhibit in such a unique vineyard site, that’s what wine is all about, time and place.”
“We’re in the process right now of final blending trials and finishing the estate whites, while the estate reds are just now finishing malo and we’ll be doing oak trials in the coming weeks. We got a new winemaker via the Willamette Valley of Oregon wine country, he’s been with us for about 8 months, making a huge impact. I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half, it’s an exciting time for us, lots of developments, changes and successes in our near future.”
Mahalo to Joseph for sharing this exciting news with us!
Visit Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch –
(New Tour Information & Website coming soon: Please Call 808-878-6058 to confirm before making the drive…)
Tastings: The King’s Cottage Tasting Room is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (except for major holidays). The tasting room is the former guest cottage of King Kalakaua, Hawai‘i’s “Merrie Monarch.” Must be 21 years of age; valid ID required for wine tasting.
Tours: Complimentary 30 minute walking tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Hear the amazing history of the grounds, visit the winery’s production area and learn about how wine is made from grapes and fresh pineapple fruit – only in Hawai‘i! Private groups of 10 or more and organized tours are requested to call in advance to make private tour arrangements.