Lanai Makes A Splash With Wine

Alana Folen
Wednesday - January 19, 2011
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Tabura showcases Look Me In The Eye Wine

Most people know Lanai Tabura as an accomplished radio DJ, special event host, actor and comedian. Now you can add entrepreneur to his resume.

Tabura is the owner and founder of Lanai Media, and now a winemaker for his company Look Me In The Eye Wine, which he started in January 2007 (

“On one of my many visits to Santa Ynez, Calif., I met the ‘Grenache king’Mikael Sigouin, head winemaker of Beckman’s Vineyard and owner of Kanea wines. After our first meeting and several trips to his vineyard, Mike said to me, ‘You seem to have an opinion on everything you drink - you should make your own wine,’” Tabura recalls. “And that was it, the beginning of something ono!”

Tabura has two wines on the market - a white Grenache Blanc (7 percent Riesling blend) and a red 70 percent Grenache and 30 percent Shiraz. Look Me In The Eye is now available at most Foodland locations with a starting price of $21.99 per bottle. The wines also can be purchased at most boutique wine stores.

“All my grapes are bought from a few of the finest vineyards in the Central Coast area,” Tabura explains, noting, “Everything is processed after that on the property of Beckman’s Vineyard. Mikael is the head winemaker, so he produces Kaena wines simultaneously with his Beckman’s wines. Look Me In The Eye falls under his Kaena labels that we both produce together.”

According to Tabura, harvest usually begins at the end of summer and consists of 12- to 14-hour days of crushing and pressing the grapes before they hit the barrel.

“Most people are pleasantly surprised at the tastings,” Tabura says. “Most people are so familiar with the mer-lots, cabs and pinots, but my red was made for a new wine drinker but still can be enjoyed by a ‘cork dork.‘The feedback has been amazing - very drinkable and smooth with a great ending! Grenache is the new pinot noir. I have been told by many: When you let the red air out or decanter it for a while, it gets very creamy and hints of cocoa come out.

“The white was made strictly for women,” he adds. “Women love Rieslings and Zins. People look at the color, and think Riesling? Chardonnay? I’ll bet it’s sweet? But it’s not sweet or dry. It’s different and refreshing. There are hints of lilikoi, mountain apple and pear in it; it’s very drinkable, even for someone who is past white wines.”

In addition to wine, Tabura recently released an application for the iPhone, titled Pidgin 101, which teaches the basics of pidgin English.

“I always thought it would be cool to make a pidgin application to teach the younger generation where and why we use pidgin,”

Tabura explains. “We come from such a unique place - we are one of a kind.

“My hope is to have students use it as a tool one day and have teachers utilize it in their history classes.”

Pidgin 101 is available for 99 cents and will soon be accessible for the Droid and BlackBerry.

For more information on Look Me In The Eye Wines, visit

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