HONOLULU, July 17, 1998 - Airline passengers with discerning tastes know that nothing complements a great meal better than an equally great glass of wine.
Hawaiian Airlines recognizes this and is proud to announce the launch of its new First Class Wine Selection Program. Spearheaded and guided by Hawaii's own Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, the wine program is designed to offer First Class passengers a superb selection of quality wines to accompany the Hawaii Regional Cuisine menus that have become a trademark of Hawaiian Airlines' First Class service.
"Our First Class customers have come to associate their inflight experience with fine dining. Adding selected wines enhances that experience and makes it more complete," said Blaine Miyasato, Hawaiian Airlines Senior Director of Inflight Services and Catering.
"Upgrading the wine selection in First Class, especially in accordance with the menus, will be a landmark program, much like Hawaiian's featured cuisine program," said Furuya.
The wine program for the third quarter will feature elegant and contemporary selections to complement Hawaiian's menu selections and reflect the trend in today's foods. "If today's foods are lighter and fresher, we believe today's wines should be lighter and fresher as well," says Furuya, who is conducting training sessions for flight attendants. During the sessions, Furuya describes the origin of the selected wines and explores the qualities in each wine that make it a good pairing for specific menu items.
Furuya has chosen three wines for selection by travelers to accompany menus created by Chef Alan Tsuchiyama of the Sheraton Waikiki and Chef Tom Wong of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The first wine is the elegant, full of finesse 1995 Edmeades Chardonnay from the cool Anderson Valley north of Sonoma. It is paired with Tsuchiyama's roast duck raviolis with shiitake leek relish and Wong's Kalua chicken cake with fried taro won ton and roasted corn and Maui onion relish.
The second wine selection is the 1997 Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling, chosen because it is a dry, light, refreshing wine created specifically for Pacific Rim foods by California's most creative, innovative winemaker. The Riesling "interacts with food like a squeezed lemon would," says Furuya, and is paired with a chilled, fresh asparagus salad with black bean vinaigrette by Tsuchiyama and Wong's crispy Asian slaw with fried won ton strips and oriental sesame seed vinaigrette.
The third wine is a 1994 Black Sheep Zinfandel, a highly acclaimed Zinfandel from the Sierra Foothills which complements either of Tsuchiyama's entree creations- the cracked black pepper marinated beef tenderloin with herb sautéed shrimp or the Hanohano sesame seed mahi mahi with watercress asparagus relish and miso. This wine also complements Wong's selections- Adobo breast of chicken with pipikaula bok choy and caramelized Kunia pineapple, or pan fried onaga with black bean sauce with Chinese sausage ragout. The tangy edge of the Zinfandel is ideal for a wide range of foods," says Furuya of this selection.
Furuya is one of only 35 people in the country to hold the distinguished title of Master Sommelier. A noted expert on pairing wines with Pacific Rim cuisine, Furuya is consistently asked to serve as a judge for national and international wine events. He is currently a wine consultant and president of Fine Wine Imports in Honolulu.
Hawaiian Airlines was one of the first airlines to feature an onboard cuisine program planned and orchestrated by prominent chefs. Hawaiian's initial program featured a quarterly rotation of the founders of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine Council and included such renowned food masters as Mark Ellman, Peter Merriman, Beverly Gannon, George Mavrothalassitis and Gary
In 1995, Hawaiian Airlines won the Onboard Services Award for innovation and excellence of its unique Hawaii Regional Cuisine served to passengers in the First Class cabin. The elegant blend of fresh island ingredients and Euro-Asian cooking techniques were created exclusively for Hawaiian by world-renowned chefs of Hawaii. In 1997 the airline won the coveted President's Award for Innovation in Coach Class Service from the International Inflight Food Service Association and was awarded the Onboard Services Diamond Award in 1996 for excellent service on interisland flights.
Founded in Honolulu 68 years ago, Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii's longest-serving and largest airline and the nation's 12th largest carrier. Hawaiian's fleet of 13 DC9s provides award-winning service on more than 130 jet flights daily among the island of Hawaii. Hawaiian also operates 12 widebody jet flights a day between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Its South Pacific service links Honolulu with American Samoa and Tahiti.