Wine Tasting in Upcountry Maui
When you think of adult beverages on Maui, giant mai tais in pineapples, fruity piña coladas in coconuts and perhaps even a frosty cold beer come to mind. But for the vino lovers (points to self), Maui also has a single winery, located Upcountry in the scenic, remote area of Kula.
Open daily from 10:30am to 5:00pm, you’ll pass the winery if you plan on driving the back side of Haleakala Volcano from the Road to Hana. If not, reserve a day to explore the sites of Upcountry Maui and grab picnic essentials to enjoy a day of cool breezes and panoramic views.
In a place where high expense plays a huge part of daily life, it’s nice to have a recommendation that costs absolutely nothing. Maui’s Winery offers complimentary tours, beginning at the cozy King’s Cottage and continuing through the historic estate, wine cellar and production area, departing daily at 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm.
To preface, I love a good bottle of wine. When I am not writing, I am bartending, and because of that, I’ve have had the pleasure of tasting many excellent kinds of wine. I’ll also say that I’m not particularly picky, although I don’t drink chardonnay, riesling or merlot because I’ve had them enough times to know that I don’t want them again. If that makes me picky, so be it.
I should also mention that I have, in fact, tried every single kind of wine currently available at this winery, and these are just my opinions. Take ’em or leave ’em.
Maui Blanc, Maui Splash, Hula O Maui
If you like sweet things in a pretty glass, you may like these wines. Personally, I find all the pineapple wines way, way too sweet. You know that overwhelmingly candy-like taste of your first Smirnoff Ice? It’s kind of like that, only wine. That being said, I have served these wines to many people in exchange for money, and most seemed to be okay with that.
Upcountry Gold, Ulupalakua Red, Lokelani Sparkling Rosé
I recommend Upcountry Gold to drinkers who like chardonnay, simply because it’s the closest in taste. The Ulupalakua Red is decent enough, and the Lokelani sounds like a great idea (rosé equals two thumbs up), but is too carbonated to be nice.
Ulupalakua Vineyards Chenin-Viognier v. 2013, Ulupalakua Vineyards Syrah v. 2012
New to the menu, these two wines were the best we tried. If I had to recommend one, I’d probably go with the Syrah.
Framboise Raspberry Dessert Wine
Okay, I lied. I have not and did not try this raspberry dessert wine. If I haven’t said it before, extremely sweet booze and I don’t really understand each other.
I really, really want to like this winery. Truly. The location is beautiful, the grounds are lovely and bright and remind me of the grandma-house of my dreams, and wine tasting is one of my very favorite things to do when I’m somewhere new and beautiful. I just can’t get past the fact that the wine (once again, in my opinion) is just not that good, and the prices ($14 to $40 per bottle) are way too high knowing what I can get elsewhere.
If you want to go wine tasting on Maui, go wine tasting on Maui. It’s still nice for the simple fact that it’s in a great location. In fact, I suggest a post wine-tasting elk burger from Ulupalakua Ranch Store across the street. Just don’t make the journey solely for the wine.