Winesday with The Wine Shop – Are There Vineyards on Kauai?
Tasting Kauai is happy to partner with the O’Connells for Winesday with The Wine Shop. Owners Dan and Ellen O’Connell are a delightful couple whose passion for wine is infectious, their knowledge is vast, and their service is friendly. Their beautiful store carries everything from wine and spirits to gourmet foods and sweet treats. Check in with Tasting Kauai every Wednesday to learn about their favorites. ¡Salud!
This week, I want to give the different wine growing regions a little shout out to get people thinking about the environment in which they live. Let’s start with Kauai. At The Wine Shop, we are often asked about vineyards and wineries on Kauai. Our easy answer is that yes, grapes can grow in our tropical climate, but the vines do not survive. They tend to overproduce inferior fruit and are subject to rootstock disease from the wet climate. Grapevines also require a dormant season, which the climate on Kauai does not provide.
Now let’s look at California. It has diverse climates and exceptionally great growing regions such as Napa Valley, Sonoma Coast, Russian River in the north, Monterey County, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles in the south and even further down the coast, Temecula. Each varietal thrives better in a particular region. For instance, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay do exceptionally well in Napa Valley. Does that mean that is all they grow? No, but it is the majority of the crops that excel in that particular climate. If you go north to Sonoma and Russian River, you will find that Pinot Noir grows best. Venturing south to Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles, hot days and cool evenings from the Pacific breezes make these areas ideal for Rhone style wines, Grenache and Syrah. Heading south and inland you will find the Temecula region. It is known for white varietals such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
With technology today, biologists can determine which varietal and rootstock grows the best for a particular terrain. We enjoy trying the local wines when we are visiting new areas. While that is always fun, it is oftentimes not feasible. So we suggest heading to The Wine Shop in Koloa to talk wine and food, taste a few varietals from different regions, and enjoy the diversity of flavors.
Dano and Ellen O’Connell
The Wine Shop is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. On the first Saturday of each month from 4 to 7 p.m., they host monthly wine tastings. For more information call 808-742-7305 or visit www.thewineshopkauai.com. The shop is located just across the street from the Koloa Post Office.