By the Bottle, By the Glass – Merriman’s Wine List

A wine list has the possibility to make or break a restaurant so when Peter Merriman opened Merriman’s Kapalua two years ago, he wanted a wine focused restaurant and he wanted an expert. Fortunately he didn’t have to look further than Oahu where he found Sommelier Jason “Cass” Castle.

Cass relocated to Maui and Merriman’s Kapalua earned the Wine Spectator Award upon opening. Apart from awards, Cass also holds the esteemed honor of being the only active full-time sommelier on the island. And the expertise at Merriman’s doesn’t stop there. The entire bar and beverage staff are Certified Specialists of Spirits and Cocktails, using local ingredients whenever possible to support the locavore movement.

The wine cellar at Merriman's Kapalua

With a staff of experts, it’s no surprise the restaurant generates 1.3 million in wine sales annually.

The hand selected wine list features over 500 choices, starting at $29 per bottle and reaching $2,900, with 100 selections under $60 a bottle.

“Merriman’s Kapalua provides a hand crafted menu so patrons have a hand crafted experience,” says Cass. “I aim to do a unique and expert beverage program as Peter does with food.”

Unique wines on the list include the Bruna Pigato from Northern Italy which took Cass three years to import to Hawaii and the Movia “Lunar” Slovenia, made from a Ribolla grape and flipped over in clay barrels in conjunction with the lunar cycles.

Wines arrive on a carved three-year-old French oak barrel

While Cass suggests keeping an eye on Northern Italian Pinot Neros in the next ten years, his wine list currently features remarkable wines from the region including the J. Hofstatter Barthenau, Pinot Nero 2002.

Variations from the normal wine list can be found at the Ocean Front Wine Bar which opens at 3pm every day. Cass hand selects six “off the beaten path” wines each month which are served by the glass. All bottles consumed on the oceanfront deck are 20% off.

Cass recently passed his Advanced Sommelier Exam and will be working towards his Masters. With his knowledge at your fingertips when dining at Merriman’s Kapalua, you’ll taste the difference.

Oceanfront dining at Merriman's Kapalua on the island of Maui

For more information on Cass and Merriman’s Kapalua, please visit:

Merriman’s Kapalua
One Bay Club Place
Lahaina, HI 96761-9035
(808) 669.6400

Nadine Nettmann

Nadine has a taste for travel, adventure, delicious food and a great glass of wine. A foodie from a young age, she loves trying meals from around the world and does her best to travel and dine on a budget. Originally from Los Angeles, Nadine and her husband stored 95% of their belongings and moved to Maui with two suitcases in 2006. She is an avid cook and while she loves living on the island, she will admit she misses some of her kitchen appliances in storage. When she’s not baking a cake or out on the water, she can be found at her computer working on her novel.

  1. When I first read your title I thought it was in comparison to ordering by the glass versus a bottle. Great article nonetheless. I love it when chefs pay attention to drinks being served. Also helps when there is a good price range for those who can afford wines that cost more than 4-digits 🙂

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