Author brings wine to Hawaii

Sep. 21, 2015 | 0 Comments frances_mayes_2015

BY MICHELLE RAMOS / mramos@staradvertiser.com

A small group of diners met with “Under the Tuscan Sun” author Frances Mayes Monday at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

The author and her husband, Ed Mayes, were in town to promote Mayes’ label Tuscan Sun, chatted with about 15 people about life in Italy, where Mayes bought a house in 1990, and in North Carolina, where the couple moved around 10 years ago.

mayes_wineMayes said when she purchased the villa in Tuscany and started to clean it, she found lots of wine bottles. Later she found out she purchased a vineyard.

Mayes recounted how, years later, she and her husband had friends over for their first batch of wine. It was the worst wine ever, Mayes said.

Mayes and her husband left the wine making to the professionals and about two and a half years ago decided to stick to selecting which wines to carry under Mayes’ label.

They tasted 130 wines and choose five wines to start the line. Mayes said they were looking for wines that were food friendly. Not the type of wine to drink as you cry and ponder over life, she continued.

Each label had a connection to one of Mayes’ books; for example, the Auguri wine label has a picture of the villa that Mayes purchased about 25 years ago, which spawned her 1996 memoir that was turned into the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Today seven wines grace the tuscansunswines.com website and soon the wines will also be available in Hawaii.

The couple, although not great at making wine, make award-winning extra virgin olive oil — Bramasole — from their 400 olive trees. Bramasole took the silver medal at the New York International Olive Oil Competition in May.

Mayes’ husband is in charge of this branch of their life and can be found out in the fields picking olives with Mayes and the workers during harvest time.

“The olive harvest is like a celebration,” Mayes said.

The couple leave Oahu for Maui Tuesday, where they will be the guests at the “A Toast to Tuscany” wine-pairing dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Pulehu, located in The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort. Tickets for the $125 event can be found at honoluluboxoffice.com. For more information go to westinkaanapali.com.

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