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.
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.
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.
For more information on Cass and Merriman’s Kapalua, please visit:
One Bay Club Place
Lahaina, HI 96761-9035