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With all the tropical juices, infused vodkas and exotic garnishes inundating the Hawaii drink scene, some vacationers might be asking, “Where’s a good place to get a glass of wine around here?” Drinks with dinner don’t always have to fall under the hard liquor category. In fact, many more people are starting to enjoy a glass of wine paired with their meal to bring out the flavors, and a lot of restaurants even have this as a menu option for guests.
Thinking about ordering the grilled mahi mahi? Try pairing it with a glass of buttery chardonnay to compliment the smooth texture of the fish for only $7 extra. It’s common to see ‘ask your server about our wine pairings’ at the bottom of restaurant menus- which makes being a wino easy- but what about just grabbing a glass of wine and relaxing at the local lounge?
This post details a variety of wine bars across Hawaii for the traveling wino, so you can enjoy a complex glass of red or white instead of the usual mai tai during your tropical vacation.
My first mention might shock some of you, especially if you know anything about viticulture. If you’re traveling to Maui and want a unique wine experience, check out Tedeschi Vineyards, Maui’s winery located at the Ulupalakua Ranch in the southern interior of the island. The number one way to grow successful grapes for wine is to have the proper climate, and it’s easy to see how Hawaii’s climate differs from the wine countries of Napa or Sonoma. But Tedeschi Vineyards has successfully created not only wine from grapes, but also wine from pineapples. What better way to expand your sommelier practices than to experience pineapple wine!
Next I’ll give you a couple worthwhile mentions for wine on Oahu. The first is located in Honolulu, right across from Hawaii Theatre on Bethel Street and is called Brasserie Du Vin. French inspired, this restaurant wine bar offers a casual yet rustic ambiance with interior decorations (and an outdoor patio) reminiscent of an evening in France. So do like the French do and pronounce ‘vin’ (French word for wine) like ‘von’ and ask for your bottle in a decanter.
Featured wines change weekly and you can expect to find a reasonably priced glass of wine and great service here. Du Vin also offers a variety of cheeses and appetizers to pair with your wine, and the bartenders are very knowledgeable about combinations and compliments.
The next mention on Oahu is located in the North Shore’s historic town of Haleiwa. Bonzer Front is a wine cellar that is an extension of Café Haleiwa, located only a door away and offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can purchase bottles from around the world at Bonzer Front and enjoy them at Café Haleiwa, or taste wines and enjoy a relaxing afternoon lounging with friends in Bozer’s outdoor patio.
Shifting over to Kauai, there is a new wine bar on the south side of the island called La Spezia. Known for its rustic Italian ambiance and cuisine, there’s nothing like pairing a great pasta dish with a glass of bold red. With a bar separating the restaurant, you can choose to either make this a dining experience or simply wine time. La Spezia specializes in pairings and also offers exclusive events and dinners that feature special labels and varietals. Stop in for happy hour, which happens Tuesday through Sunday from 5:00-6:00pm and then walk to the next shop over and purchase a bottle or two to take home! This next spot is called The Wine Shop and offers bottles for purchase ranging in price from $10 to… beyond. Check out their website at www.thewineshopkauai.com for special events and wine tastings that are happening during your vacation on the Garden Isle.
Lastly, the Big Island’s Waikoloa (located on the South Kohala Coast) offers a wine bar featured within the Island Gourmet Market. Called the Aloha Wine Bar, this cozy spot provides a nice selection of fine wines, as well as other spirits and Kona coffee. They also have a generous happy hour, lasting from 3:00pm till 7:00pm, and the wine bar is open till midnight every day. It’s a great place to enjoy a glass of wine and mingle, since there is a variety of residents and tourists that typically stop by.
Other Wine Bar Mentions: