Pono Wines Owner Dave Sedeno Joins ‘Wake Up in The Den’ to Promote New Imua Wine to Benefit UH Athletics 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED AUG 4, 2023

HONOLULU — Growing up in Kalihi Valley in the 1960’s, living in Kam IV Housing, Dave Sedeno never dreamed of becoming a winemaker.

As a kid, he played football with the Noga Brothers, joking about still having the bruises to prove it, going to Farrington for a spell before transferring and graduating from Kaiser in 1982. The move, he joked, was an academic-based decision because Farrington’s curriculum was too much for him. 

Following high school, Sedeno joined the US Air Force and served 10 years before working for the fire department in Roseville, California for 25 years. A maiden voyage to Napa in 1990 sparked a passion for the wine industry and the lifestyle with it, giving a young Hawaiian man an inspiration for a journey.

Sedeno, the only Hawaiian-born winemaker in world famous Napa Valley, joined ‘Wake Up in The Den w/ Ku’ulei Agbayani’ for an Aloha Friday YouTube show to talk about his journey into Wine Country and how the latest IMUA Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will go to benefit University of Hawai’i at Mānoa athletics. 

The creation of Pono Wines was inspired by Sedeno’s mother, who talked him out of naming the business “Sedeno Cellars” and reminded him of the importance of the meaning of “pono” and the responsibility that came with calling his product Pono.

“She says ‘You know, if you call it Pono, you better not make crappy wine because you’re representing us and the people [of Hawai’i].’” Sedeno remembered. “What’s going to happen if you make crappy wine? Well, you going to get the slippah.” 

Pono Wines offers seven total wines with the inclusion of the 2021 IMUA Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which proceeds will go to benefit the UH athletic department. Sedeno hopes that, should this first batch be popular, he will be able to write six-figure checks in future years to benefit future ‘Bows. 

While this year’s proceeds will likely come in below that figure, that goal is attainable if production is increased to 500 cases or more. Sedeno went on record to say he would be happy to produce that and more if the desire is there.

Sedeno and Agbayani dive deeper into the wine-making process, the inspiration behind the partnership and much more during the episode.  

You can catch ‘Wake Up in The Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’ live every weekday morning from 8-9 a.m. HT on 95.1 FM, AM 760 and streaming on hawaiisportsradio.com. The show is available after recording where most podcasts are, along with past OIA and HPU broadcasts and older interviews.

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