Inside the ongoing collaboration between the Harlan family, Napa’s cult winemaker, and the Four Seasons’ Big Island resort Hualālai



PHOTO: Renata Johnson.


The Harlan family — possibly the most sought-after wine producer in Napa Valley — joined forces with the equally formidable Four Seasons Resort Hualālai for the oceanfront luxury resort’s 2023 Winemaker in Residence series, and the result has been positively indulgent.

Beginning in March with an extremely intimate $595-a-seat dinner for 10 discerning guests featuring a selection of Harlan’s exquisite BOND wines — paired with dishes developed by the resort’s executive chef Richard Polhemus — the collaboration is part of a carefully curated expansion of the property’s culinary and wine program. “Four Seasons Resort Hualālai has long been recognized for its bespoke programming,” says Charlie Parker, the property’s general manager. “This partnership showcases the resort’s dedication to creating an exceptional on-property experience for its guests.”

Over Memorial Day Weekend, the highly anticipated and completely sold-out follow-up dinner — at a comparatively reasonable cost of $1,125 per person — welcomed three times as many guests for a three-course meal that showcased four inimitable Harlan Estate wines, hosted by winery director François Vignaud. “Hualālai has a history of putting together once-in-a-lifetime experiences for its guests and members, and there is a mutual alignment in terms of values [with Harlan] and the way we see hospitality,” explained Vignaud, who has been part of Harlan’s team for nearly a decade.



Served on one of the ULU Ocean Grill’s open-air dining terraces — with breathtaking views of the ocean and sunset — the menu, devised by Polhemus, featured locally sourced ingredients and included a side-by-side tasting of the 2012 and 2016 Harlan Estate Bordeaux blends paired with a Waimea sunchoke and black truffle ravioli, as well as the 2006 and 1999 vintages that were served, respectively, with an Hualālai Estate vanilla poached Kona lobster in a Harlan Estate wine reduction and a coffee-smoked dry aged rib eye as the second and third courses. “In terms of the selected vintages, we went back in time so guests could experience the arc of aging for our wines,” Vignaud adds.

Although you might have missed out on the two earlier dinners, third time’s a charm on October 13, when Anthony Mendelson, director of The Mascot — the cabernet sauvignon carefully crafted from the younger vines of BOND, Harlan Estate, and Promontory — pulls the corks on a variety of vintages for an open-fire cooking menu. At a modest $395 per person and given the waitlist that developed for the most recent dinner, seats are predicted to go quickly.



The winemaker series is just one aspect of the partnership between Napa-based Harlan and the Four Seasons’ popular Kona property: All three of the resort’s well-appointed private villas — the Hawaii Loa Presidential, the Makaloa, and the Ho‘onanea — will be stocked with wines from the Harlan family’s portfolio and made available to their residents. Additionally, guests taking advantage of the resort’s relationship with VistaJet, its private aviation partner, will be able to enjoy a glass of The Mascot when flying to and from the Forbes Five-Star rated luxury oasis.

Scoring allocations from any of Bill Harlan’s cult winemaking properties can be difficult (to say the least), but partnerships with the family’s wines are even harder to come by, making this experience a must-taste for anyone interested in these exclusive California wines and relaxing in the lap of island luxury.


June 19, 2023.

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