The Four Seasons Maui Wine & Food Classic is returning to the shores of Maui after a two-year hiatus. The acclaimed festival, which was named Robb Report’s “Best of the Best New Wine Festival” in 2019, was developed in collaboration with “wine therapist to the stars,” Christian Navarro, the president and principal of Wally’s Wine & Spirits. While the weekend festivities offer guests the opportunity to connect with an all-star lineup of vintners, producers, and hobnob with celebrity chefs, the festival is returning with a host of female trailblazers worth noting across the industry.
One of the only major female champagne houses, Laurent-Perrier, renowned Chef Rashida Holmes of Bridgetown Roti, and Kim Westerman of Hedonic Coffee will be intersecting their champagne, culinary, & coffee expertise with the culture, community, and traditions of Hawaii. Through different activations and touchpoints for attendees throughout the holiday weekend, each brand is bringing its unique touch to the island through curated food & wine experiences unlike any other. “We’re thrilled to welcome such impressive culinary giants and remarkable wine and spirits producers to work alongside our talented team of chefs and sommeliers at the property for an unforgettable weekend,” says Four Seasons Resort Maui General Manager, Ben Shank.
The trailblazers share how they are bringing their expertise to the island of Maui over Labor Day weekend.
Chef Rashida Holmes is known for turning her years of culinary experience into a Caribbean food pop-up in Los Angeles most famous for her roti. Tapping into her family roots with eclectic and mouth-watering Caribbean flavors, that she describes as “a love letter to West Indian street food” has drawn critical culinary acclaim from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, and the Los Angeles Times, to name a select few. This will be Holmes’ first time at the festival (and in Maui), and she is taking inspiration from both the Caribbean and Hawaiian Islands for her pop-up lunch taking place oceanside at the property.
“My inspiration always comes from my Bajan background, but I also love smoking as a cooking method! I feel when you work with fire, wood, and coals it has a freeing feeling. Everything is all about time, temperature, and seasoning, and feels both ancient and original. It’s just one of my favorite ways to cook. And the beachside setting makes us feel connected to our ancestors who built empires on the sand and sea,” she explains.
“Hawaii and the Caribbean culture and cooking share common island history. The produce you can find there and in Hawaii are so similar, and both regions have heavy influence from the cultures that have come through over the millennia. So for me and the Wine & Food Classic, it’s all about exploring what Hawaii and Maui has to offer and taking advantage of the incredible local seafood and fruit that Hawaii is known for, while also bringing my unique Caribbean flavors to the party!”
Hedonic coffee is known as a “coffee for wine lovers,” offering people the same sensory nuances of coffee in the same way they approach wine. Founder, Kim Westerman, has been a long-time sommelier and became a licensed coffee Q-grader in 2016. Once Kim got deeper into the sensory realm of coffee, she began to notice the crossover with wine in every cup. Some of the same sensory properties she found were aroma, basic tastes (sweet, tart, bitter, salty, umami), acidity, body, texture, flavor, and finish. The coffee being featured at the Classic will be 100% Kona Coffee grown by smallholding farmers in the renowned Kona growing region and will be served throughout the festival.
“This coffee is certified as a prime grade, which is the highest possible quality certification. I chose this coffee to parallel the Newton Cabernet Sauvignon that is popular on the DUO wine list at Four Seasons Resort Maui. It’s roasted to medium-dark, which brings out notes of black cherry, cacao, and slate. Guests can also try the house blend I developed exclusively for the property, as well as a very small-production natural-processed Bourbon coffee from Ka’u (another coffee-growing area on the Big Island),” Westerman explained.
Not only did Westerman ensure the coffee was local to Hawaii, she worked closely with Aunty Wendy Tuivaioge, a trusted cultural advisor and Director of Hawaiian Programs at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, to create a name with cultural connection and resonance to the Hawaiian Islands. “We all agreed that the metaphor of a wave represents the coffee well. The name “Hokua Nalu” means “crest of a high wave” in Hawaiian, and it signifies the coffee’s structure and harmonious boldness that remind us of the waves crashing out in front of the property, steps from Wailea Beach. Hawaiians have many different words for various kinds of ocean waves, and Hokua Nalu seems to fit this coffee perfectly,” she shared.
Since 1812, Laurent Perrier has been one of the few female and family-owned champagne houses in the world. As the presenter of the Brunch & Bubbles, Laurent Perrier will be featuring four wines curated for the cuisine of the island. “Our winery is family owned and honors the Hawaiian spirit of Ohana. Our wines are fresh and elegant and have beautiful acidity that compliments the cuisine of the islands. Whether it be our La Cuvee NV brut paired with traditional Poke, our Cuvee Rose paired with Kalua Pig or our Demi-Sec paired with Lilikoi Malasadas,” shared Michelle D. DeFeo, President of Laurent-Perrier US. “The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea exemplifies luxury at its finest as does the House of Laurent-Perrier. Laurent-Perrier is also proud of being “chosen by the best” – and we were chosen not just by the Four Seasons, but also by Wally’s incomparable Christian Navarro to be part of this exceptional event.” Laurent Perrier will be featuring the Ultra Brut, La Cuvée Brut, Cuvée Rosé Brut and Grand Siécle Iteration No. 25 which is their prestige cuvée from a blend of wine from 2006, 2007, 2008 that combined create “the perfect year”.
The festival will also feature a trio of luminary L.A. chefs leading The Icons Dinners including two Michelin-star Chef Wolfgang Puck of Wolfgang Puck, Chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse, and “Godfather of L.A. Dining,” Chef Joachim Splichal, Founder of Patina Restaurant Group, in addition to James Beard nominated Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tinroof, Wally’s Executive Chef Ryan Kluver, and Four Seasons Resort Maui culinary duo, Executive Chef Michael Patria and Executive Pastry Chef Alexandre Chersouly.
To complement the weekend of culinary events, Navarro’s list of winemakers, champagne houses, and spirits include powerhouses such as Opus One, Shafer Vineyards, Patrimony, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Marciano Estate, DAOU “Soul of a Lion,” Aleksander Wine, El Cristiano, and more. The Classic will take place from September 2 – 4, 2022 across the Four Seasons Resort Maui.
Attendees can purchase tickets for the Opening Night Gala, The Icons Dinners, and Brunch & Bubbles while the Wally’s Starlight Lounge and Lunch with Chef Rashida Holmes are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.