How wine made our Hawaiian vacation better

Sally and I have just returned from relaxing vacation on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. We took a break from many things including work, email, and even Facebook. One thing we didn’t leave behind was our love of wine. That never seems to take a break.

It also turns out that wine made our vacation a whole lot better. Not just in the way you think. It turns out there are many hidden benefits.

Wine saved us money

One of our first stops when we got into town was The Wine Shop in Koloa. It’s a very cool store run by Dan and Ellen O’Connell that provides a great selection of familiar wine at all price levels. Many things are much more expensive in Hawaii than they are on the mainland, but The Wine Shop’s prices aren’t much higher than we pay in our hometown of San Diego.

Hawaii’s corkage laws vary by county. In Kauai County, where we were staying, local laws allow you to bring your own wine to dinner. We all know that restaurant wine can be very expensive, so bringing your own bottle is almost always a better deal.

But wait, there’s more!

The Wine Shop has worked out a deal that gets many nearby restaurants to wave the corkage fee. This means you pay retail for your wine and get to drink it for free in the restaurant. That little deal saved us quite a bit of moolah!

Stay tuned as we profile our various purchases.

Wine kept the cabana boy away

Drinking fruity rum drinks is a time-honored tradition when you are lounging on a tropical island. Knowing we had a bottle of wine waiting for us at dinner actually encouraged us to keep the daytime drinking to a minimum. This meant the cabana boy wasn’t constantly swinging by to ply us with $14 Mai Tais.

I’d expect our audience is split 50/50 on whether keeping the cabana boy away is a good thing. For the 50 percent that doesn’t agree with me, just think about how many empty calories are in one rum drink.

Wine kept us away from Vegas

Okay, this is a longer one, so bear with me.

We took a sunset dinner cruise one night along Kauai’s beautiful Napali Coast. Much of this part of the island is accessible only by boat and it’s renowned for its remote beauty.

A woman caught our attention while we waiting to board the boat. She was loud, obnoxious, and already seemed to have a few drinks in her. At one point, she leaned over a toddler drinking juice and made some crack to the mom about the juice having alcohol in it. Stereotypes come from somewhere, so we weren’t surprised to learn she and her husband were from Las Vegas.

We started referring to her under our breath as Vegas. We also decided to avoid her at all costs.

Kauai's Napali Coast

Staying away from Vegas on the boat turned out to be fairly easy. We found several very cool people to sit next to at the back of the boat and Vegas made her way to the top deck so she could talk the Captain’s ear off. Everything was going fine until the crew started serving alcohol just before dinner.

We were given a choice of beer, wine, or “sneaky-Tikis,” which were tropical rum drinks that were so potent they snuck up on you. Most of our group of new friends had a couple of beers or one sneaky-Tiki and then switched to wine with dinner. It kept the conversation social and we even had a nice conversation about Oregon Pinot with a couple from just outside of Portland.

Vegas, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough sneaky-Tikis. Maybe the Captain dared her to beat the ship’s record. Maybe they are extra sneaky when you have a few less brain cells for the alcohol to conquer. Maybe that’s just how Vegas rolls. Whatever it was, the booze made Vegas even louder.  

One of our group got up after dinner to use the head. She returned with a horrified look on her face. Apparently, she had seen Vegas descending the ladder from the top deck. Vegas was holding up her dress so she wouldn’t trip which made it apparent that she wasn’t wearing any underwear.

Our new friend recounted the terrifying ordeal and said in a frightened voice, “I saw her Napali Coast.”

This encouraged a few more comments about Vegas since others had noticed her boorish behavior too. In fact, it turned out that the whole group of us had picked the back of the boat to deliberately avoid Vegas!

The point of this story is there’s no telling what would have happened if we had gotten soused on sneaky-Tikis rather than having a few social glasses of wine with the newly formed Vegas Avoidance Group.

A beautiful sunset from the back of the boat

Posted on September 9, 2013 and filed under Adventures.