If you are in the Kona area and you like live music, wine, and gorgeous views, then you really need to check out Kona Wine Nights.
Held monthly at The View restaurant at the Kona Country Club golf course, Kona Wine Nights was created by Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning Maui singer Anuhea (you know her, she’s “Kind of a Big Deal“), Sommelier (and firefighter) Adam Tabieros, and The View owners Kalina and Keoni Llanes. The concept is to provide local music and a unique selection of wines and pupus in a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. No stuffy sommelier looking down their nose as you try to remember all the wine wheel elements of a “classic” cabernet franc. The wines are personally selected by Adam and represent both well-known vineyards as well as some hidden gems. For your $75 dollar ticket, you get four 2-oz pours of each of the featured wines along with a heavy pupu buffet. All wines are available for purchase, either by the glass or bottle. The glass pours are quite generous (thanks, Adam!)
I had the opportunity to attend Kona Wine Nights in February, thanks to Big Island Pulse (total job perk!). I felt welcomed immediately by Anuhea herself, who was handling the check-ins and seating. We were then taken to our table right next to the railing (hello, unobstructed view of the ocean!), and promptly provided with snacks while we waited for our wines, which came shortly thereafter.
How did Kona Wine Nights start?
“All the concerts and tours were suddenly cancelled, so I had to figure out something to do here in Kona. Adam introduced us all one night for a small wine tasting party at The View and we got to talking. We came up with the concept to throw these small events combining all the things we all loved, wine + food + music + fellowship. We wanted to create an excuse to dress up and safely get together again- something we all were missing so much during lockdown.” Anuhea shared with us.
I was already familiar with two of the selections that week- the Stags Leap Chardonnay and the Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon (both California selections)- but was happy to learn more about the other two, the Primarius Pinot Noir (Oregon) and the Orin Swift Abstract (Napa red blend). The Orin Swift was a revelation, so good that it compelled me to buy a full glass. We tasted, we ate, we enjoyed the music, and we watched the sunset in complete awe. It was a good night.
When can we wine?
This weekend, June 12, marks the 21st installment of Kona Wine Nights. The featured wines this week are all from Italy and include an interesting Primitivo (Zinfandel grown in Italy) selection from Salento (the “heel” part of the “boot” that is Italy). Not something you see every day, which is one of the goals of Kona Wine Nights- to expose Big Island wine and music lovers to wines that you may not see in your local Foodland or KTA. This weekend’s pupus are likely to include a refreshing watermelon salad, beef on a baguet with cream sauce, caprese salad, a pasta dish, and a Caesar salad- a lot of food offerings in addition to the high-quality wines. Musician Drew Daniels is the featured artist this week. Tickets are limited to 45 guests to ensure a quality experience, so be sure to get them before they are gone!