There is one location on Maui that is far away from the busy pace of Lahaina’s Front Street, all of the day-to-day commotion in Kahului, and removed from the golden stretches of famous sand near Kihei. Nestled on the massive slopes of Haleakala, you will find a handful of smaller towns that make you feel like you’re somewhere in the midwest instead of on a tropical island; farms stretch over rolling hills, cattle roam freely, and horses are more common than surfboards. This area is typically referred to as: Upcountry.
Cody and I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring upcountry, so this time around we carved out an afternoon to visit two places that have been on our “list” for quite some time.
Wine Tasting at the Tedeschi Vineyards
When I began my second round of the 101 goals challenge I thought a wine tasting would be a perfect item to add. I had seen (yet never sampled) the wine grown and distributed by Maui’s very own winery and I was intrigued. I mean they have a wine made from Pineapples… PINEAPPLES! You guys, how awesome is that?
On the 30 minute walking tour I learned that the Tedeschi Vineyards began in 1974 through collaboration with Ulupalakua Ranch. As they waited for the first batch of grapes to mature, they decided to produce a sparkling pineapple wine made with fresh Maui Gold Pineapples and to their surprise it was a hit with customers. Currently, the winery produces grape, pineapple, sparkling, and dessert wines which are sold in stores throughout Hawaii and can be shipped to many states on the mainland.
One of the most interesting facts of the Tedeschi Vineyards is the aging process. There is not an underground cellar like many wineries, simply because excavating the hardened lava rock is complicated and expensive; instead, the wine is aged in an open warehouse in steel bins. Yes, that is correct, this wine is not aged in wooden barrels like you would expect. Maui’s climate and humidity would ruin the barrels thus ruining the wine, so instead the wine is aged in steel bins above ground, where temperature and humidity can be monitored multiple times a day.
Tedeschi Vineyards offers free tours three times a day at 10:30, 1:30, and 2:30. And in case you’re wondering, our favorite wine was the Lokilani, a Hawaiian Sparkling Rose named after the official flower of Maui.
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
I suffer from migraines more often than I’d like to admit, and when I read about the benefits of Lavender Oil, one of the first places that came to mind was the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm located on the steep slopes of Haleakala.
The Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm focuses on bringing sustainable Aloha to the World through educational stewardship, nurturing the well-being of the community and the planet. Their movement is, “driven by a deep belief that Aloha connects all living things and when acting within its value center, the result is a sustainable and beneficial way of life that creates possibilities and opportunities for everyone.”
We paid the $3 entry fee and wandered the beautiful grounds; there are over 30 different varieties of lavender on the farm which are used to produce all sorts of products ranging from soap to tea and everything in between. The strong scent of lavender hung in the air, but I did not see a massive sea of violet like I had expected, and after overhearing some of the other guests we found out that the best time to visit is in the summer as most of the plants are in bloom. (Have you visited in the summer? I’d love to hear your thoughts.) 🙂
Before leaving, I purchased three vials of the Lavender Essential Oil ($12 for 1/8 of an ounce), one for myself and two for gifts, and we also sampled the Lavender Tea.
We enjoyed our afternoon spent Upcountry and look forward to going back as there are two additional upcountry farms on our list:
Have you spent any time upcountry? What else should I see on our next visit?