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Culture / Travel

Maui Wine Culture Takes Off, Becomes Another Hawaii Vacation Lure

Topnotch Sommeliers are Flocking to Paradise

BY // 04.16.19

Hawaii is no doubt a bucket list destination for vacationers. It’s top of mind for many vacationers seeking tropical breezes and shimmering sunsets.

But one Maui Five Diamond luxury resort is giving travelers another reason to pack their bags and head towards seashore rapture. And it might not be what you’d think.

The Maui wine culture is starting to turn some heads, according to Yeshua Goodman, advance sommelier for Spago restaurant, which is on the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea property. He says there are countless top sommeliers flocking to the island to be part of the Four Seasons’ team, and the wine-centric culture is garnering national attention – and drawing buzz from locals and visitors alike.

“It took a while for the somm culture to hit the shores of Maui,” Goodman says. “But now that it has, Four Seasons Maui has skipped light years ahead and is on everyone’s radar. Wine plus aloha equals magic.”

Just how many sommeliers does it take to create this magic for wine enthusiasts? Four Seasons Maui now has 22 sommeliers. That’s right. 22 sommeliers are sprinkled throughout the resort’s fine dining restaurants, including DUO Steak and Seafood, Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante and Spago.

Imagine dining along the coastline of a Maui wonderland with 22 wine experts at your service, to ensure the most delightful and seamless pairings with your meal. Not to mention the chance to get an introduction to some of the world’s most unusual and rare wines. Four Seasons Maui has them, and they are ready to uncork and pour for discerning guests.

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And Goodman says the experience can be as subtle or as extravagant as you want. The sky is the limit. From sabering champagne beachside to a more private, in-room experience, the choice is yours. And the sommeliers are all eager to be part of the individualized guest experience.

“Iron sharpens iron,” Goodman says. “We’re constantly pushing each other to be better. We can never rest on our laurels and there’s always ways to elevate the guest experience. Four Seasons Maui has become the gold standard in our community.”

In addition to the resort having a sizeable amount of sommeliers on staff, a partnership was forged with wine therapist to the stars Christian Navarro, president and principal of Wally’s Wine and Spirits. Along with the wine therapist, the Four Seasons sommeliers curated wine menus and experiences for guests of the resort’s top tier Elite Suites.

Some of these experiences include glassology Riedel glass tastings and Ultimate Pairing Dinners, in which the menu is planned around personal wine preferences. No cookie cutter wine vacations are allowed by these 20 somms. With such wine experts on staff, the resort is able to carefully craft customized activities for each guest, which will not be replicated again.

The journey to establishing oneself as a sommelier is lengthy and expensive. So not only is the resort focused on the guests’ experience, but there is a prime focus on employees as well. Four Seasons Maui assists employees aspiring to develop their wine knowledge by financially supporting their pursuit of certification and perpetuates this love of wine by encouraging frequent opportunities for the sommeliers to embrace their art.

This is how a wine wonderland sprouts in paradise.

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