It’s no secret that we hold our Maui craft community in high regard, not only for their noteworthy accomplishments both locally and afar, but for their commitment to creativity and unparalleled dedication within their respective crafts.
Whether it’s brewing that perfect cup of locally roasted coffee, finding new ways to incorporate forward-thinking energy resources in a local brewery, or pushing the limits of what tropically-inspired wine varietals are supposed to taste like, there are seemingly endless possibilities when it comes to the future of Maui’s craft food and beverage industry.
This month, we are proud to present our second Take 5 Interview with Paula Hegele, President of MauiWine. A 23 acre vineyard located beautifully in Ulupalakua, an area remembered for its rich historical significance, MauiWine receives more than 100,000 annual visitors and remains Maui’s only winery.
Take 5 with: Paula of MauiWine
Q: What are the advantages of living in Hawaii when it comes to the craft food & beverage business?
Fun to think about the advantages… normally it is looking at the disadvantages. I think it is the ability to be innovators. We are pioneers, getting to explore and figure it out as we develop the wine industry here. That also can be a challenge, but it is very exciting to introduce wines from Maui that are unexpected.
Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to winemaking?
Learning! Since we have no one to follow, we have to keep raising the bar to improve our knowledge and wines. Our goal is to make wines that represent Maui; we are not trying to be like anyone else. We want Maui – the beauty, smells and lifestyle – to show through each wine.
Q: Who (or where) do you look to for inspiration for your company?
Maui is certainly an inspiration for our winemaking. But for me personally, Pard Erdman, the owner of Ulupalakua Ranch, has been my inspiration and mentor by allowing me to be part of this very unique venture. He has cheered me along and given me the courage to keep persevering, despite the many obstacles.
Q: What, if any, special projects do you have planned for the coming year?
We always seem to have multiple projects in the works. In late 2017, we changed our business license to allow us to add more services to the guest experience at our Tasting Room. In 2018, we will be trying out some new offerings, and we are really excited about our 2016 and 2017 vintage releases as well.
Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of the business?
The diversity of being a fully integrated business. Our staff is involved in every step of our product development and success, from growing grapes to making wine and taking care of our customers.
Q: Give us two cool facts about yourself or your business. Go!
10 years before coming to work for what was then Tedeschi Vineyards, Ulupalakua was my favorite place on the island. My husband and I would drive from Ka’anapali to sit under the trees on the winery grounds.
For over 150 years, Ulupalakua has been known for its innovation in agriculture and world renowned hospitality, and we are honored to play a part in continuing the tradition.
Thank you to the lovely Paula Hegele for participating in our ‘Take 5’ interview series, and we hope to be invited to taste those vintage releases with you soon (hint hint).
Be sure to ‘Like’ our MCT Facebook page for a special holiday drawing, and join our Taste of Maui, Taste of Upcountry, Ultimate Craft Adventure or Field to Glass Tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the MauiWine winemaking process, a special wine tasting and/or delicious onsite lunch with a view. Mahalo for reading, and we’re wishing you a wonderful New Year celebration. See you next year!