Director of Wine & Spirits, John Kulikowski, brings knowledge and passion to Hacienda Del Sol in the form of a well-curated 750-label wine list. Receiving many awards and accolades over the years, our wine list features wines from around the world at a variety of price points.
Learn more about Director of Wine & Spirits and what this prestigious award means below.
An Interview with Director of Wine & Spirits, John Kulikowski:
How long have you worked at HDS?
What is your favorite part about working here?
Coming to work every day and walking through the lush gardens is a marvel and a delight every day. I also witness the amazing sunsets from our west dining room five times a week.
Just look at this incredible Tucson sunset from March.
What is your process for deciding what should go on our list?
I try to find quality wine at a good value and pass that savings on to the guests. I also buy wines that go well with the seasonally-changing menus and always have several selections under $50 a bottle. We also pride ourselves in offering local wines from the Southern Arizona region. The wine list is constantly evolving.
What is your favorite wine on the HDS list?
We have too many wines (more than 750) to have just one! In warm weather I like un-oaked whites like La Spinetta Vermentino from Tuscany, or one dry Pedro Ximenez from Mayu in Chile. For reds I tend to like heavier styles and grapes like petite syrah. One current favorite is Caymus Grand Durif from Saison California or The Offering from Sans Liege in Santa Barbara.
For someone who doesn’t know a lot about wine, what would you recommend they start with when trying wines?
Many young people wish to start with semi-sweet wines, a fruity zinfandel or a fizzy semi-sweet Moscato or Vouvray, then gradually try drier and more robust wines.
What does the Wine Spectator Best Of Award of Excellence mean to you?
It is professional confirmation that our list is worthy, by professional standards, and of the highest quality. It keeps me on my toes to ensure everything is listed perfectly and we have a nice balance of price points and offerings.
What is the most popular wine on our list?
The most popular white is Rombauer Chardonnay, the most popular red is the Juggernaut Cabernet.
What is your favorite region for wines?
I could go the rest of my life just drinking red and whites from France’s Rhone valley. I’m also a big fan of the Marena in Tuscany.
What is your favorite dish on our menu and wine to pair with it?
The Spiced Rack of Lamb on our current summer menu is excellent and pairs perfectly with a fruit forward Syrah such as Shafer Relentless 2015 from Napa. My seafood favorite is our large Sea Scallops that is perfect with a grassy crisp Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2017 from Loire Valley France.
You can see our full Grill dinner menu here.
See you soon.