Wine Tasting in Hawaii

Photo: paulaloe

Hawaii. Sun, sand, and…wine tasting? The islands may not be your first thought when you think of wine tasting, but oenophiles visiting Hawaii will be happy to note that the beach isn’t the only place to check for great legs. The state of Hawaii boasts two wineries with unique vintages, as well as an assortment of shops that offer wine tasting and special events.

OAHU

The Wine Stop – This shop offers complimentary wine tasting a couple times a week, along with a variety of special events and seminars.

HASR Wine Co. – Featuring an assortment of premiere Napa Valley auction wines, HASR Wine Co is the place to go if you’re looking for something unique. They represent a number of boutique wineries whose wines are normally available only at the source. Located in Honolulu’s arts district.

The Wine Stop and HASR Wine Co. are just a short drive from hotels like the Hawaii Prince Oahu or the Aqua Palms and Spa Oahu.

SWAM – Shiroma’s Wine and More offers free wine tasting every Thursday from 5-8 pm. You’ll find an assortment of wines, spirits, and gifts at this shop run by a petite Gen Xer. They offer 10% off on Mondays and Tuesdays. Located in Aiea.

MAUI

Tedeschi Vineyards – Located in upcountry Maui, the tasting room at Maui’s Winery is situated in the King’s Cottage, dating to 1874. Built specifically for the visit of Hawaii’s monarch David Kalakaua and Queen Kapi’olani, the historic cottage is now graced with an 18 foot long bar cut from a single mango tree. The winery at Tedeschi Vineyards produces Ulupalakua Red, as well as wines with a distinct island flavor. Hula O Maui is a crisp, sparkling pineapple wine. Maui Splash is imbued with the distinct flavor of lilikoi, or passion fruit.

HAWAII’S BIG ISLAND

Volcano Winery – Situated near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Winery crafts wines from Symphony grapes grown on site and tropical fruits like guava and jaboticaba. For a one-of-a-kind treat, try the Macadamia Nut Honey Wine. You won’t find that in Napa Valley!

Hawaii Brew Pubs Serve Up Island Flavor

If you’re one of those people who seek out microbreweries wherever you go, you’ll be happy to know that even way out here in the Pacific you can find a good brew. Whether your trip brings you to Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, or Kauai, seek out locally flavored ales, IPAs, and porters at these island brew pubs.

Kona Brewing Co. – With locations on the Big Island and Oahu, you’ve got two chances to try the fine brews from the folks at Kona Brewing Co while you’re in Hawaii. The brewery is located at the Kona facility where free tours are available. The pub on Oahu is outside of the bustling Waikiki area in the Koko Marina Center. The Pipeline Porter is a must-try if dark beer is your thing: brewed with 100% Kona coffee grown on the Big Island, the distinct coffee flavor might tempt you to switch up your morning routine.

Big Aloha Brewery – Famed island restaurateur Sam Choy brings plenty of aloha to his dining establishments, but you might be surprised to learn that he does beer, too. Big Aloha Brewery situated within Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab location, features a variety of beers from brewmaster David Campbell. Of note is the Kiawe Honey Porter, brewed with locally harvested kiawe honey. Monthly brewer’s dinners feature a five-course meal and a chance to try six different brews.

Maui Brewing Co. – How can you go wrong with a Bikini Blonde? That’s just one of the brews on tap at the Maui Brewing Co. pub. Their award-winning Black Pearl is a coconut porter aged in rum barrels, with notes of dark rum, toasted coconut, and molasses. Sounds like the perfect beer for Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew, doesn’t it?

Waimea Brewing Company – Located on the island of Kauai at the historic Waimea Plantation Cottages, the Waimea Brewing Company has about eight different beers on tap at any time. Choose from Waialalale Ale, named for Kauai’s famously wet mountain where average rainfalls top 425 inches each year. Enjoy your ice cold beverage with creative multi-ethnic pub fare, including fish dishes and island style pupus (hors d’oeuvres).  Sixty-four ounce growlers are available if you’d like to take your beer to go.

(photo credit: flickr user hawaii o58)