While visiting paradise on the island of Maui, take a scenic drive up to Ulupalakua Ranch to tour Maui Wine sitting at 2000 feet above sea level, established in 1974. On the drive upcountry, take in spectacular views of the the islands of Lanai and Molokai. There are several overlooks where you can pull aside and take pictures. Each winery is unique in their own way and at Maui Wine they are known for their pineapple wines! 30 minute tours for the whole family are offered daily at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
We decided to tour in the morning since it was in June and we thought it may be cooler. It was the perfect day trip as we dined for lunch and stopped off at a park afterwards. There is a designated parking area at the winery where you will see the King’s Cottage built in 1870. In the picture above, notice the Hula Circle created by cypress trees for King David Kalakaua as a designated area where he could watch hula dancers. The trees are over 150 years old and have since been cut way down and carved. Look very closely to determine what each carving displays.
The tour began in the historical room in the King’s Cottage with a complimentary pour of sparkling wines. First we had a glass of the LokeLani, Hawaiian Sparkling Rose Wine and a glass of Hula O Maui, Pineapple Sparkling Wine.
You will be greeted with the fresh pineapple aroma prior to taking your first sip. Listen as Auntie Em (Emily) describes how the property started out as a plantation, then moved to ranching and most recently, wine making. Take your time looking around at all of the sepia pictures hanging on the wall displaying the ranch families. The historical information is great for all ages. Our kids really enjoyed learning about the ranch as well as the production of wine. The tour is only 30 minutes, short and sweet for all ages.
Make your way from the King’s Cottage to the production area via a pathway along the beautifully manicured property. The 10:30 a.m. tour was nice and cool, a little overcast with ocean views. Ulupalakua is the perfect place to take pictures and spend time walking around. We made our way down to the production area with the first stop at the machine which skins the pineapples for Maui Wine’s pineapple wines. These wines are unique because they use pineapple rather than grapes. It was our first experience in sampling wines and sparkling wines infused with pineapple. The pineapple wines are made with Maui Gold pineapples. Next stop, the production plant where Auntie Em explains the process of wine making. It was fascinating to find out that Maui Wine does not use any wood barrels to process their wine as it is not conducive with the Hawaii climate and wood eating bugs.
Maui Wine has a fantastic wine tasting bar and gift shop. Kids are allowed in the tasting room but not up at the bar. Our kids enjoyed exploring the gift shop while we took in our 3 samples of complementary wine. I loved the white wines while my husband preferred the estate red wine. All of the wines are for sale at the winery. We left with two bottles of wine and a “Maui Wine” etched wine glass to bring home as a souvenir.
If you are tasting wines with someone else, share the samples so that you can actually sample 6 varieties. The staff are very knowledgeable about the wines. They even informed us as to which wines are for sale at our local Costco and which wines are sold only at the winery. The information provided by the staff helped us in choosing which wines to purchase and bring home. We signed up for their mailing list to receive information about upcoming events such as parties, holiday festivities and local music.
After wine tasting, walk across the street and have a bite to eat at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store. Located in a green, plantation-style house with a lanai to sit and dine at Paniolo style. Choose from Maui Cattle Company’s slow roasted cattle brisket, Upcountry Caesar salad, Elk or the famous Ulupalakua Lamb Burger. If you like sauces, you will love dining at the Ranch Store!
Each table has house made BBQ sauces to choose from and some are really spicy! You will smell the BBQ smoke while touring Maui Wine. The best part is that the Ranch Store serves only Maui grown produce! While waiting for your food to grill, shop around the store which features local artisan products.
Open Monday- Sunday 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.