Maui Wine

Mar 4, 2018 | General Information

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Few visitors think about visiting wineries when planning vacations in Hawaii. They don’t know what they’re missing. One of the most special destinations in the islands happens to be MauiWine on Maui’s Ulupalakua Ranch. The story of the Ranch goes back 175 years and the winery almost a half century. In 1974, Pardee Erdman partnered with Emil Tedeschi of the Tedeschi Family Winery in Napa Valley. Erdman’s goal was to find the right grapes for his ranch land in Maui’s Upcountry and create wine befitting Paradise. The grape harvest took time. While waiting for the first grapes, they began with pineapples, a readily available fruit. It turned out that pineapple wine was a big hit.

Winemaking became only the latest addition to Ulupalakua Ranch that has a fascinating history dating back nearly 200 years. Early Hawaiians used the land to farm dry land taro and sweet potatoes and hunt for pigs and birds. In the mid-1800s, the land produced beef, hogs, sheep, potatoes, corn and, at the urging of King Kamehameha, sugar cane. The land was bought by a retired whaling captain who renamed it Rose Ranch and raised cattle and cows in addition to growing sugar cane. He also added cottages and beautiful gardens. King David Kalakaua was a frequent visitor in the 1870s. And the Merry Monarch partied at the ranch.

In the late 1880s and early 1900s, new owners shifted the ranch’s focus from farming to cattle ranching. The next owners, the Baldwin family,

changed the name from Rose Ranch to Ulupalakua Ranch. In 1963 Pardee Erdman purchased the ranch from the Baldwins. At the time the ranch covered about 40,000 acres. Later parts of the ranch were sold and about 20,000 were turned over to the state of Hawaii. Today Ulupalakua Ranch owns 16,000 acres and leases 2,000 acres from the state and private owners. Sumner Erdman, son of Pardee, continued to operate a 2,300-head cattle ranch diversified with elk, lamb and goat herds. In addition he created a winery and the Ulupalakua Country Store.

What started as almost a fluke in the mid-1970s, evolved into a winery that produces a trio of pineapple wines — Maui Blanc, Maui Splash and Hula O Maui – and a variety of others from Syrah to sparkling rose. In the midst of green pastures on the slopes of Haleakala, the ranch, winery and store blend Hawaii’s past and future.