Story by Shannon Wianecki
With seminars titled “Psycho Pinots” and “Raising Riesling from the Dead,” you know the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival organizers are out to have some fun. This year’s carnival-themed fest kicks off Thursday, June 11, and wraps up Sunday night, June 14, with a seafood extravaganza. During the grape-soaked weekend of galas, cooking demos, and winemakers’ dinners, festival goers can sip, swish, and spit to their hearts’ content.
Even if you don’t spring for the $800 four-day festival pass, you can still play amateur sommelier at several á la carte events.
Midday seminars like “Psycho Pinots” and the more sedately named “Walla Walla and Cheese” offer terrific opportunities to educate your palate. Last year’s wine-and-cheese sampling was superb; this year’s promises to be equally fun and informative. Festival regular Kent Torrey of Carmel’s Cheese Shop returns to share exquisite cheeses paired with wines from Washington State’s glacier-carved vineyards. Show up Sunday afternoon to raise your pinky, sip syrah, and nosh on fine fromage. Attending sommeliers will pipe up with their opinions on each pairing, and you can, too.
If you want to go truly top shelf, book festival host and Master Sommelier Fred Dame’s rare wine dinner for $400. Dame’s gregarious sense of humor, paired with the brag-worthy bottles he’ll be uncorking, guarantees a memorable evening. (888) 227-6054; www.kapalua.com