Imagine dining in a home that was built for royalty. You get that experience when you visit the King’s Cottage tasting room at MauiWine in Kula, Maui. This is not a standard restaurant with full meals. Instead, you can sample flights of local wines, wine cocktails, or individual glasses. To round out the wine samples, the tasting room also offers light food bites, such as cheese, olives, and nuts.
Wines served in the tasting room are from the Ulupalakua Vineyards label and originate from the vineyard of the same name, just a mile away. While they don’t currently allow current public tours of the vineyards, you can book small private tours and tastings, depending on availability.
The King’s Cottage earned its moniker from its use as a guesthouse for King Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapiolani. The couple frequently visited the land, then known as Rose Ranch. Today, guests experience the same royal treatment Rose Ranch gave to the “Merrie Monarch,” when they visit the King’s Cottage tasting room.
Ulupalakua Vineyards’s most well-known option, pineapple wine, has an unusual origin. Originally, the founder of the vineyard, C. Pardee Erdman, wanted to make traditional sparkling and still wines from Carnelian grapes. However, the grapes required time to mature. In the meantime, the locally abundant pineapple provided a good fruit to test sparkling wine manufacturing methods on.
What no one expected was that the sparkling pineapple wine would become a hit. Though it started as an experiment, pineapple wine became a staple of the vineyards and MauiWine. Today, the winery makes still and sparkling pineapple wines, plus a variety of grape wines. MauiWine also is the only Hawaiian winery to produce sparkling wines.
Today, the vineyard grows six different types of grapes plus pineapple to produce its wines. Grape varieties include Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Malbec, Syrah, and Viognier. The Maui Gold pineapple is the fruit used for MauiWine’s pineapple options. You can find still and sparkling wines from any of these fruits in the tasting room.
Wines to Try at the King’s Cottage Tasting Room:
Maui Blanc or Maui Splash
Whether you like a dry or sweet wine, you must sample one of MauiWine’s pineapple options. The Maui Blanc is an off-dry pineapple wine, whereas the Maui Splash is sweet. Both offer unique flavors that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Rose Ranch Wines
Rose Ranch was the original name for what is today Ulupalakua Vineyards. The wines in this series include the white blend Kula, the red blend Mele, the sparkling brut rose Lokelani, and the sweet raspberry dessert wine Lehua. Often, the Lehua appears in the fruity wines flight with the two types of pineapple wine. Try these in a flight or by the glass for solid options when you want blends of whites, reds, or sparkling wines.
The Estate Wines include varieties such as Syrah, Rose, Malbec, GSMV, Grenache, Chenin Blanc, and Blanc de Blanc. The specific options on the tasting menu will vary based on availability. However, visitors report never having a bad wine when at the tasting room.
Whether you love grape-based traditional wines or want to try something different, make a stop at the King’s Cottage tasting room for MauiWine in Kula. Your trip up the mountain to the vineyard will be worthwhile.
-If you want to take home wine and don’t live in Hawaii, have the winery ship bottles directly to your home. You avoid the risk of your bottles breaking in your checked baggage. And federal regulations prevent individuals from shipping or mailing wine.
-The tasting room only allows parties of five or fewer when making reservations. You cannot create separate reservations for seating together if you have a larger group. Plan to split your party if you have a very large group.
-Consider making one member of your group a designated driver who will have only non-alcoholic offerings from the tasting menu. This option lets others enjoy their wine samples freely without worrying about driving.