Wine on Maui - Buy or Bring?
Going to Maui for a week.
a) take a few great bottles and buy everyday wine there?
b) don't bother taking any as there is great variety at fair prices. (Recommended shops?)
c) does the Costco there sell wine?
d) take all you can carry - the prices are enough to make you cry.
In Lahaina, Mr. Wine has closed but may reopen in a month or so. It has been taken over by the owner of The Wine Corner in Paia which has a small, but careful selection. In Kahului, Costco has the usual suspects, and the Hawaii Liquor Superstore tries to be a Superstore.
In South Maui, Wailea Wine has the island's best selection and fair prices.
Dang! Mr. Wine has been a favorite of mine for many years, and a few owners. We were there in Dec. '08, and I picked up some real deals, even though they are in a resort area with higer than normal shipping. As the County of Maui has restrictive BYOW laws, I had two great bottles of wine, that we could not bring to a restaurant. I stopped back by for shipping, and found some highly allocated Turley Zins, that I had missed. Though I am on the Turley list, I could not get these, because of my tier. The prices were about what the wine club offered. I bought those, plus paid shipping back to the Mainland for my now full-case. The prices were still better than buying (if I could) the wines in AZ.
This saddens me greatly.
Costco, universally, has diminished their wine selections. Of the various stores in HI, I was always less than impressed for more than "daily, lanai wines." Even our Scottsdale store has gone to nothing above the "usual suspects."
Sorry to hear about Mr. Wine. Hope that all is well with the most recent owners, and also wish good luck to the new owners. Will check them out, should they be reopened in Oct/Nov.
re: Bill Hunt
Lahaina Farms (new, Whole Foods like, is across Honopillani Highway from the Cannery Mall. They have an interesting wine selection.
Last month we shopped at Costco and they did indeed have wine but the selection was disappointing.
As for the airlines, they each have their own policies about wine in luggage. I believe that United is quite restrictive. One thing for sure, you cannot care your wine onboard.
Thank you for the rec. for Lahaina Farms. We did notice it, but were always on the "other" side.
Over the years, and on most islands, we've enjoyed Costco for our daily wines, and have used several wine shops for the higher-end offerings. This is because of the selections. It used to be that the Mainland stores, depending on their "neighborhood," had some real "gems." It appears that for economic reasons, even the stores, like Scottsdale, have cut way back on the higher-end products. So the Mainland seems to be "coming back" to the selections in Hawai`i.
I do hope that Mr Wine can get back open, and not too much will have to change. I will also look into Lahaina Farms, as well.
As for shipping my wines, I've never considered that. Now, we used to travel to Napa with 3 empty styro-shippers and one stuffed suitcase. We'd check the styro-shippers as luggage, and they'd be filled, for our return. We've even curtailed this practice and I really do not know how UAL feels about it any longer. Going back, we never had a problem.
Now, a good friend does ship a case Fed-X to Maui, when his wife does her "ladies' week in Hawai`i," and he has been pleased. Though I'd like to empty out my cellar a bit, it just seems like too much work for me. Besides, I'd rather spend my $ with the locals in the Islands, rather than Fed-X - they get a lot of my $ already. Besides, if I by-pass the local wine shops, some day they will not be there for me, maybe like Mr Wine, though I always did support them handsomely.
Thanks for the rec,
There was a new wine store being built in Kihei the last time we were there - might do an internet search. Do not laugh, but I have always had good luck at Long's Drugs in Kihei - but I am a white wine drinker - in the $15 - $20 category, I've always been happy with what I've found there. (I also find the cheapest Mauna Loa Mac nuts there too - everything is cheap there as more of a locals store) There's also a new Lucky's that I think had a pretty good selection.
The first time we went to Maui, we filled a soft sided cooler with bottles of wine and carried them on the plane. However, once we got there we realized that we could have purchased the same wine at Safeway (Lahaina) or Star Market (Honokawai)for a few dollars more per bottle. If you have a Vons club card you will be able to get the wine at a savings at Safeway. Both stores have decent selections as does the Napili market (in Napili). It really isn't worth lugging wine to Maui unless you want to bring a special bottle. The only bad bottle of wine we ever had was when we went to Waikiki for a few days and bought a bottle of J. Lohr Chardonnay at a market (don't remember where or name of store). We have also purchased wine at Costco on Maui and never had a bad bottle. We find that wine is essential for watching the beautiful sunsets in Maui!
You're worried about price; I'd worry about heat. The more tropical your destination, the more careful you've got to be about where you buy your wine.
I'd never buy Costco wine in Hawaii...those crates probably spent time on unrefrigerated trucks, sitting in a blazing parking lot, etc. Same for cheapo wine stores. I'd only buy from the best store in town - which takes special pains for a clientele that wont stand for "cooked" wine.
Conveniently, tropical destinations tend to have food that goes better with beer anyway. So you've got to pay the equivalent of an "out of season" premium in a weird sort of way.
On balance, I'd say bring a couple of good bottles with you. Then the next issue is do you bring stemware (as you are going to be hardpressed to find the good stuff there). You know how wine lovers often say to try the wine of the region with the local cuisine? Maui (and Hawaii) is pretty humid and to my palate wine tastes different there. As for local wine, I think all you'll find on Maui is pineapple wine. Wine that's been shipped to the islands may be affected by temperatures there, may not be stored at optimal temps, etc. Generally, I think beer and hard liquor (in fruit juice based drinks) marry better with most food you will encounter there. OTOH, because of the humidity, I find relatively cheap, cold white wine tastes better there than in other spots. When ordering in a restaurant, you will want to check the vintage against what's listed on the menu--frequently a different year is presented. Cheers.
re: mc michael
For the most part I agree with this post. However, cheap whites are rarely better than GOOD, albeit more expensive whites. That's for another discussion, however.
Being Maui veterans ourselves, we've determined Champagne is almost BETTER than white wine with fresh fish, appetizers, etc.
Check out Costo for Vieux Cliquot, Pol Roger, even Domaine Chandon, or other reasonably priced bottles.
Then fall back on other whites you like for everyday drinking.
You can bring fine reds as carry on for that special occasion when whites won't do!
I have heard that you cannot ship wine through as luggage anymore. You MIGHT be able to carry it onto the plane. If so, bring as many good bottles as you can, even Champagne which is great with pu pus in the warm climate.
Yes, bring special wine with you and you can fill in with your sauvignon blancs, zinfandels, etc. there, although you'll get some sticker shock.
There isn't a great variety and the prices are NOT fair. There is a wine shop in Lahaina that we haven't tried yet, and they do advertise in all of the Week on Maui tour booklets and restaurant guides.
The Costco near the airport I'm sure does sell wine. Personally, when we land, we are anxious to get to our condo., so we don't shop at Costco. Safeway, Longs, etc. always run specials on soda and water, so we make do closer to home. But I'm sure you can pick up wine there, for the best possible prices on Maui. Give it a look and report back, we're going in September.
Depending on where you live, the prices are high and might even make you cry. The prices for everything on Maui are on the high side, unless you're used to San Francisco Bay Area prices and then you're a bit used to getting ripped off on a regular basis.
Aloha, let me know if you need some restaurant recs. or send some our way. Mahalo.