Kapalua hosts annual
celebration of wine

The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival offers many opportunities to improve your knowledge quotient through seminars such as an interactive comparison of Australian and American wineries.

Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

Dates: July 9 to 11

Place: Kapalua Resort, Maui

Featuring: Seminars, wine-tastings, cooking demonstrations

Cost: $825 for all events; individual event tickets available

Call: (866) 669-2440

Online reservations: www.kapaluamaui.com

But for those who'd rather focus on food and drink than education, the three-day festival offers plenty of that, too. And you're sure to learn something along the way.

The two grand, all-you-can eat affairs are the Grand Tasting, 5:30 to 9 p.m. July 8 at the Kapalua Bay Hotel and the Seafood Festival July 10 at the Ritz-Carlton. The events cost $140 each.

The Grand Tasting showcases the wine choices of eight master sommeliers who are the guest stars of the festival, alongside dishes from the resort kitchens. The Seafood Festival draws 15 chefs from throughout the islands, with wine pairings by festival host, master sommelier Fred Dame.

On the night in between, July 9, Winemaker Dinners are offered at restaurants throughout the resort:

The Plantation House Restaurant: Dame hosts "The America's Cup," a comparison of wines from the United States and New Zealand. Each dish will be paired with one U.S. and one New Zealand wine. For example, a course of Seared Rare Ahi Filet with Hudson Valley Foie Gras will pit the Gary Farrell Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2003, against the Brancott Terraces Estate, Marlborough 2002. Cost is $90. Champagne reception, featuring Perrier Jouët, is at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Call (808) 669-6299.

Pineapple Grill: "Invasion of the Oregonians" features wines of Domain Serene, Ken Wright, Josh Bergstrom and Babcock. The menu includes Poached Hawaiian Moi and Steamed Lobster Full Moon with Soy Veal Cheeks. Dinner is at 6 p.m. Cost is $130, to benefit the Maui Preparatory Academy. Call (808) 669-9600.

Vino: "The 8 Chefs" will feature executive chefs from the restaurants in the Sansei group serving a dish each at stations around the dining room. Specialties include Tempura of Barbecued Fresh Water Eel, Confit of Duck with Gnocchi and Asian-Style Petit Osso Bucco. The event runs 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $125, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Maui Community College culinary program. Call (808) 661-8466.

The Banyan Tree: The Grateful Palate Australian wine collection will be showcased at dinner, hosted by master sommelier and winemaker Richard Betts. The menu includes Scallop and Lotus Root "Sandwich" and Roast Squab Breast with Confit Leg. Dinner is at 5:30. Cost is $150. An ala carte selection will also be available. Call (808) 669-6200.

Plumeria Terrace, Kapalua Bay Hotel: George Mavrothalassisitis of Chef Mavro will feature the wines of Icon Estates. The menu includes Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Poached Pacific Oysters, Yukon Potato Crusted Onaga and Roasted "Mountain Meadow" Lamb Chateau. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $160. Call (808) 669-5656.

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