This month’s wine writing challenge is TRAVEL, as selected by last month’s winner: the hilarious and enlightening Loie of Cheap Wine Curious.
Of course, my first thought was to write about Napa, the first place I traveled for wine–but then I remembered I’ve already written about my trip and since I haven’t had the chance to go back, there’s nothing new to report.
Then I thought about allllllll the places in France and Italy I passed through many, many moons (aka decades) ago that I’d love to go back and visit now that I have a true appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of champagnes and burgundies and amarones (ohmy!)–but then I realized that this post may never end.
So then I thought about all the amazing Texas Hill Country wineries around where I grew up, which seemed apropos since I’m traveling (see what I did there?) down there at the end of the week–but then I realized that I should wait and do a bit of exploring of all the new wineries that have popped up since the last time I visited.
Then I thought about cleverly describing how going to the wine store is like traveling around the world–but about the same moment that idea popped into my head, so did another:
I know, I know you’re probably thinking “no, no…go back to writing about the wine store/traveling the world idea!” But nope! Hang on to your hats, we’re traveling to Hawaii!
If you know me in real life or follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook (shameless plug!), you will know that last September I went to Hawaii with some amazing friends. While on the stunningly picturesque island of Kauai, we stumbled across the Koloa Rum Company. By stumble, I mean April quickly learned she was traveling with
lushes people who enjoyed sampling local adult beverages and she was trying to keep us appeased.
But of course, this writing challenge is about wine, not rum (although THAT would be awesome!). Having had a great time at Koloa, we (aka April, who was quicker with her google-searching fingers since she was giving away her rum samples) looked for other local places that made adult beverages.
While on the Big Island we visited the Kona Brewing Company, and so despite having not seen a grape growing anywhere in Hawaii’s lush and volcanic landscape, we were hopeful that we could find a winery.
Alas, no grape winery…but BINGO! we found Nani Moon Meadery! Now I will confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of mead, however, when in Rome…
Nani Moon is in the back of a shopping center in Kapa’a. We pull up, walk in, and, well, started tasting! It seemed pointless not to try the full line-up, so we did.
For those of you out there who are unaware, mead is wine (although it can also be beer) made from honey instead of grapes. It’s been around since…forever (and I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate timeframe!). Much more sustainable, when you’re smack dab in the middle of the Pacific ocean and you have access to local apiaries.
As Stephanie (the owner) took us through each wine, she paired it with an appropriate snack and talked about where she sourced the honey (they weren’t all the same!). I think my favorite was the Laka’s Nectar, which was the driest and most crisp of the wines. While a little too sweet for me, the Cacao Moon was a big hit–understandable, given its chocolate undertones and velvety chocolate finish. Stephanie definitely got bonus points for her Deviant Beehavior, which packs a kick as it is not only made from honey, but also chili!
We finished the tasting with some of the local honeys that she used, which was great–not only because they were delicious, but because you could really taste how much the nuances in the honey affected the taste of the wine.
If you’re interested in learning more, visiting, or throwing caution to the wind and just buying a bottle, contact Stephanie and tell her what you like. I’m quite confident she will find you something you’ll truly enjoy and give you suggestions on pairings to help you enjoy it more! She even has a cocktail section that encourages you to “bee inspired and mix it up!”
It was a great way to spend a couple of hours–and I think that if you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the Pacific on a tiny island named Kauai, you should go visit Stephanie and try her meads. I’m not going to say that meads are now my favorite type of wine, but I did walk away with a better appreciation for just how versatile a wine made from honey can be. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?