Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch

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Oh yeah, I’m aware it’s a mouthful. Try saying it after you’ve done their winery tour and free wine tasting; it’s even harder!

Having discovered, loved and finished an entire bottle of Maui Blanc pineapple wine yesterday, today’s first order of business was a visit to the place where the magic is made: Maui’s (one and only) Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch.

Ulupalakua Ranch sprawls across 20,000 acres of land, from the ocean all the way up to 6,000 ft elevation. (I totally almost stole this from their website; click on the link to read some more about the ranch.)

The only way to get there is this winding, beautiful and very recently asphalted road:

As for a physical address, it doesn’t have one, so leave the GPS at home. The area is rural, you will be driving across pastures for six miles and enjoying sights like this:

and this:

Bring your camera, stop often, take photos and enjoy.

I was initially peeved at the idea of doing this drive:

… Some 40 miles around, nearly one and a half hours with traffic and stop lights (the speed limit around here is 45 mph tops, typically 40), when in reality, our condo is no more than three miles from the winery as the bird flies.

The land is walkable (I asked), except the road is on private property and, who knows, you may get hunted down or chased by cows. Don’t do it.

We got to the tasting room a few minutes early (it opens at 10 a.m., daily tours start at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.). No matter, we got an early start on the whole tasting thing:

What? Technically, it was noon in California: just the right time for a glass of delicious raspberry wine. So good! They make it with raspberries grown in Washington state and add alcohol and sugar, so yes: that thing is sweet and strong.

We also tried the Maui Splash (above), made with pineapples and a hint of passion fruit and peaches. Those things make it even sweeter than the Maui Blanc. Yum.

We spent about 15 minutes walking around the showroom looking at all kinds of trinkets:

Then headed outside where a lovely lady animatedly told us all about the history of the winery and its wines.

The winery has a fascinating story, but I didn’t remember much (oops), as I was even more fascinated by the resident cat, Mr Blue, enjoying the sun:

But if you must know one thing, it’s that this is the only place that makes wine out of Maui Gold pineapples, and because the distillery happens to be on a ranch, the whole shebang is essentially a zero waste operation. Pineapples are turned into wine, then the waste is fed back into the land, where even sweeter pineapples grow.

This is where the magic happens:

We brought home a bottle of their sparkling pineapple wine, Hula O’Maui, which is being chilled as I speak write and will be enjoyed at the lanai, with a side of beautiful sunset.


P.S. This blog post is being filed under XT, or Cross Training. Yes?

— What is your favorite wine? Favorite wine tour? —

Today’s workout:

Did you know that Maui’s swimming pools are free for all? (And no, not resort ones but full-blown aquatic centers with multiple 25- and 35-yard pools.) More tomorrow!

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