KAHULUI, Hawaii -- Tedeschi Vineyards at Ulupalakua Ranch on the
slopes of Haleakala Crater underwent a transformation a year ago.
Those who visited Maui's only winery, which opened more than 20
years ago, will remember the tasting room in what was known as the
jailhouse. Now there is a larger tasting room in the ranch's
historical and restored manager's home.
Called the Kalakaua Cottage, it opened to the public in November
1997. Visitors have eight wines to sample, including the original
pineapple Maui Blanc, which the vineyard began producing in 1977
while its Carnelian grape plants grew.
Guided tours of the winery and grounds end with the cellars and
bottling room, tucked into a hillside above ground. Visitors can
buy sandwiches and other takeout items from the Ulupalakua Ranch
Store & Deli across the road. Picnic tables on the winery
grounds, shaded by large trees more than 100 years old, provide a
quiet place to reflect on Ulupalakua's history.
The 23,000-acre cattle ranch dates to 1845 when 2,000 acres of
royal lands were leased for sugar cane. With Lahaina in West Maui
developing as Hawaii's whaling capital, coupled with the California
gold rush, demand for ranch and farm products increased.
In 1856, James Makee, a whaling captain, bought the ranch, which
by then included livestock as well as sugar, and named it Rose
Ranch. The ranch became famous for its hospitality and as a center
for the social elite.
At 2,000 feet above sea level, the ranch is 23 miles and a
40-minute drive from Kahului Airport. The drive through the Kula
area, known for its sweet onions, provides magnificent vistas that
include the broad sweep of Maui's central plain, the West Maui
Mountains and the island of Kahoolawe. The South Maui resort areas
of Kihei, Wailea and Makena are below.
Ulupalakua is less than four downhill miles to Makena, but there
is no connecting public road. It is more than an hour's drive along
the slopes and down to the plain to the resort areas.
In Makee's day, ships would anchor off Makena Landing, and
officers and dignitaries would take a six-hour uphill journey to
the ranch and civilization. A shot from a cannon (seen on the
winery grounds) signified that an ox cart was on its way. In 1874,
the cannon fired a 21-gun salute. King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani
arrived for the first of many visits.
The Kalakaua Cottage, then a one-room home built for the royals,
later was expanded into a manager's home, with wings now housing
the tasting room and a gift shop selling Hawaiian products. The
original room is devoted to historical memorabilia and photos:
sections on Kalakaua; the Makee family (six daughters, two sons);
Maui's cowboys, and the ranch's owners.
In the 1880s, after Makee died, the unprofitable sugar farms
ended and ranching took over. Visitors learn about the ranch's
owners (the present owner, Pardee Erdman, bought it in 1963).
There are photos of Gen. George Patton, who stayed here in the
1930s. Then a colonel stationed on Oahu, he played polo on Maui and
is remembered for riding his pony through the cottage's living
A pavilion on the grounds stands on the site of Makee's home,
which burned down in 1975 (only the chimney remains). The pavilion
is used for incentive and other group functions. The winery can
handle groups of up to 100 for a catered lunch.
According to Paula Hegele, general manager, the winery gets
between 500 and 600 visitors a day. Some take a detour to the
winery on the way back from Haleakala National Park, which is more
than 10,000 feet above sea level. Some visitors, she said, drive
around East Maui via Hana -- a circular route of 110 miles from the
airport. Car rental companies prohibit driving the route because of
an unpaved stretch at Kaupo, midway between Ulupalakua and
Hegele said there are plans to restore the original tasting room
for private tastings.
Makee used the coral-block building as an office, and its
basement, running the length of the building, was believed to have
been used as a jail.
The winery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission
and tours are free. Tours, lasting about 25 minutes, are every
hour, the first beginning at 9:30 a.m., and the last starting at
To reach the winery from Kahului Airport, take the Hana Highway
(Route 36) for a short distance, then take the Haleakala Highway
(Route 37). For the last five miles, after Keokea, Route 37 is a
Tedeschi Vineyards, Phone: (808) 878-1266, Fax: (808)