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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, January 1, 2006

'Women and Wine' slated for January 18

Cheryl Apo will honor women winemakers and operators during a special dinner at the Hale Koa Room.

Photo by Randy T. Fujimori

Hale Koa Room

Where: 2055 Kalia Rd., Hale Koa Hotel

Call: 955-0555/955-9632

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m.

Note: The hotel is also home to three different shows, including the Hale Koa Luau, Tama's Polynesian Revue and Magic in Paradise.

The Hale Koa Hotel is accessible to family or accompanied guests of active-duty or retired military, Department of Defense civilian employees, Reserve and National Guard members.

Move over you guys, jokingly warns Cheryl Apo. Women, too, are just as capable of making excellent wines.

During an upcoming wine dinner at Hale Koa Hotel on Wed., Jan. 18 at 6 p.m., Apo and certified wine specialist Lisa Gmur will play host to an evening themed "Women and Wine."

The event will showcase wineries that are operated by women and female winemakers, including Emilia Nardi, Joy Sterling, Luisa Ponzi, Eileen Crane and Sue Hodder.

"This dinner will show that there is no distinction between men and women when it comes to winemaking," said Apo, Hale Koa's assistant hotel manager, and food and beverage director. "They're just as good if not better at times."

And just because it's a female winemaker producing that bottle of Pinot Noir or Shiraz doesn't mean that it's going to be "effeminate," according to Gmur, fine wine specialist for Grand Crew, which is a division of Better Brands.

"It's not going to be a so-called 'soft' wine," she asserted. "In fact, it's the opposite. Most of the wines produced by women are huge and very structural."

The evening starts with a champagne reception and butler-passed canapes, followed by chef Rolf Walter's classic "Gems of Two Seas," featuring layers of ahi tartar, Scottish salmon and egg salad, all topped with caviar.

"We'll serve the Iron Horse Russian Cuvee, which pairs well with the salmon and ahi tartar," Gmur said. "In addition to talking about the wine's properties, I'll also explain the wine's story and provide background trivia. For example, Iron Horse was the first sparkling wine to be served in the White House and it was also the wine that Ronald

Reagan chose to serve during a historic summit with Mikhail Gorbachev."

The next course of seasonal greens will be paired with Luisa Ponzi's Pinot Gris from Ponzi Vineyards in Oregon's lush Willamette Valley.

"The Ponzis were one of the first three families to produce wines from this region," Gmur said. "And it's interesting that the vineyard has fallen into the daughter's (Luisa's) care."

Rather than a single main entree, chef Walter will prepare three petits entrees, including seared Hudson Valley foie gras served with arugula and ruby-port-poached figs.

The next two demi entrees will consist of potato-crusted Island mahi mahi and herbed-roasted tenderloin of beef combined with Hollandaise-sauce-enhanced lobster.

The three will be accompanied by tastings of Eileen Crane's Pinot Noir from Domaine Carneros, Emilia Nardi's Rosso di Montalcino from Silvio Nardi Vineyards and Sue Hodder's Shiraz from Wynns in Australia.

"It's still a male dominated industry," said Gmur of winemaking. "But women are starting to make an impact."