Issue 7.5: October/November 2004

Creative Ferment

story by Paul Devlin Wood


photo: courtesy
Tedeschi Vineyards

We generally think of winemakers as stodgy traditionalists, preserving the old ways (and old wines) decade after decade. Not so Tedeschi Vineyards, a.k.a. Maui’s Winery, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary with a harvest of innovations. For instance, workers in the twenty-three-acre vineyard have been uprooting the original vines—a varietal called Carnelian—and replacing them with Syrah, Syrah Noir, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris and two types of Chardonnay. New grapes mean new wines, naturally: Part of Tedeschi’s birthday hoopla involves the debut of Maui-style Syrah and Chenin Blanc vintages, which were uncorked with ceremony at the winery’s August 1 grand harvest festival.

Summarizing the mood at this Ulupalakua vineyard—the only one on Maui and one of only two in Hawai‘i—president Paula Hegele says, "We’re embracing a very bright future." She has reason to feel optimistic. About 170,000 people visit the place annually, drawn by its gorgeous setting on the slopes of Haleakala¯ and by its history, which is told at the Tasting Room Museum, housed in the former getaway cottage of King David Kalakaua.

Another significant but subtle change that’s come with turning thirty: Tedeschi has relabeled its leading wine, Maui Blanc, with an image that puts the spotlight on this brew’s unusual juice source: pineapples. Truth is, the company has been making pineapple wine ever since it opened three decades ago. The new label suggests that the winery is going to cease referring to pine wine as a novelty and just start showing it as it is—the signature of a unique operation that has come of age.

Tedeschi Vineyards