A third-generation Okinawan, Wine Director Kevin Toyama of La Mer at the Halekulani hotel was pursuing a job in electronics when he first formed a relationship with wine during a family Christmas party. He tried an Asti Spumante for the first time, and he’s been hooked on the world of crushed grapes ever since. After traveling and tasting through Germany and a three-year stint working in a wine shop, R. Field Wine Company, Toyama worked up his knowledge and began as beverage manager and sommelier of Hanatei Restaurant in 1992.
After obtaining an advanced certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 1993, Toyama moved on as the sommelier and manager at Ihilani Resort & Spa’s Azul Restaurant for four years. Under his stewardship, Azul, as well as Padovani’s Restaurant and La Mer, all won the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.” Toyama is most fascinated and concerned with flavor and balance when it comes to his selections and pairings, and takes great interest in every aspect of winemaking, from vineyard climate to viscosity.