The slopes of the Big Island are well known for the hot lava that is currently spewing out of Kilauea, Hawaii’s active volcano, but not many of us know about the winery that has been growing grapes and making wine since 1993.
Volcano Winery is bottling a new Pinot Grigio from winemaker Tim Kenny, as well as winning awards with their “Infusion” wine, a new twist on an old favorite, the honey and tea wine.
Volcano Winery is located at a 4000 foot elevation near Volcano National Park, on Kilauea the volcano on the southeast side of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the only winery on the island. Grapes varieties grown here are the Marchael Foch, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir and the Cayuga White. Kenny says, “These hybrid grapes are less susceptible to pathogen infection here and somewhat resistant to the high pressure at our site. The Foch makes a lighter fruity red wine. the Chambourcin is a black grape that makes a deep stand alone wine. The Pinot Noir is a good fit for our cooler climate, and the Cayuga makes a sweeter wine well suited to blending.“
Tim Kenny has been making wine on the volcano for about 12 years, and the winery bottled their first case in 1993. This is the first year they are bottling the Pinot Grigio, which they call a medium bodied classic white dinner wine. Kenny says, “The Pinot Grigio is a crisp fruit forward presentation of green apple, tropical fruits and citrus with a refreshing finish.” Other wines bottled at Volcano Winery include Pinot Noir, Volcano Red, Symphony Mele, Volcano Blush, Hawaiian Guava, Macadamia Nut Honey Wine, and Infusion.
Infusion, a honey and tea wine is just one year into production and already winning taste awards, taking bronze in the San Francisco International Wine Competition. It is the brainchild of field manager Alex Wood, who worked on it for about 8 months before its release. The honey for the wine is produced by Captain Cook Honey in Kealakekua and the black tea is grown at the Volcano Tea Gardens. In 2007 The Volcano Winery received a grant to produce their own tea and will be harvesting their first plants this October.
You can get a taste of these wines by visiting the winery where they do free tastings 365 days a year, or visit their website to have it shipped to you.