HILO — The island’s two planning commissions are making it easier for farms to lure and accommodate tourists.
The Windward Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously endorsed a measure that creates a new category of “minor” agri-tourism business that can bypass many of the rules imposed on larger operations. The measure, which also must be approved by the Leeward Planning Commission before going to the County Council, also eliminates the need for a site inspection before agri-tourism businesses can receive plan approval.
“This is one step in the right direction,” said Comissioner Wallace Ishiboshi. “It’s going to help the farmers.”
Meanwhile, the Leeward Planning Commission on May 17 will tackle a related rule tightening requirements on bed and breakfasts by expanding requirements for use permits from the commission in certain zoning designations.
Minor agri-tourism operations are defined as operations that see 15,000 visitors or less a year, with a weekly maximum of 350 visitors. Operations in that size range will no longer need plan approval before commencing operations.
“This will allow farmers to help supplement their agricultural business, especially on a monthly basis so they don’t have to wait for the crop to come in,” said Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd.
Maui’s Winery is the Valley Isle’s sole commerical winery boasting a varied selection of wines including sparkling, pineapple, grape and our coveted raspberry dessert wine. With hard work, attention to detail and the pursuit of excellence, Maui’s Winery continues to be a successful and thriving agricultural business and popular visitor destination. We believe that it is our duty to be stewards of our land by producing a wine that reflects the distinctiveness of Maui.
The story of Maui’s Winery is a great story of sustainability. In 1974, in collaboration with Californian Emil Tedeschi, Ulupalakua Ranch began growing grapes, remaining true to the area’s agricultural heritage. While waiting for the grapes to mature, they decided to develop a sparkling wine made from the plentiful pineapples on Maui. A scant amount of this wine was produced, but the public response to the wine was so positive that it was decided to pursue the endeavor of making a still pineapple wine. Three years later, Tedeschi Vineyards released a Maui Blanc pineapple wine from local fruit. In 1984, after years of labor and development, the first grape product was released: Maui Brut Sparkling.
Over the years, Maui’s Winery enjoyed a successful partnership with Maui Pineapple Company, obtaining juice from their pineapple operations. After Maui Pine sold its production assets to Hali‘imaile Pineapple Company in 2009, the winery was able to buy the juicing equipment and bring it to Ulupalakua. Pineapple juice is now crushed from delicious Maui Gold Fresh pineapples right here at the winery