Hot lava isn’t the only thing making news on the Big Island’s Kilauea Volcano. There’s also the award-winning Volcano Winery, which recently announced a new Pinot Grigio from winemaker Tim Kenny.
Volcano Winery is located 4,000 feet up, near Volcano National Park on the slopes of the Big Island’s active southeast volcano. It’s the only winery on the island and grows four varieties of grapes: Marchael Foch, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir and Cayuga White. “These hybrid grapes are less susceptible to pathogen infection, and somewhat resistant to the high pressure at our site,” says Kenny. “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.”
Kenny has been making wine on the volcano for more than a decade, and the winery bottled their first case in 1993. This is the first year they’re bottling the Pinot Grigio, which Kenny says has “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 awards, taking bronze at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. It’s the brainchild of field manager Alex Wood, who worked on it for about eight months before its release. The honey 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 its own tea and will be harvesting the first plants next month.
You can sample these wines by visiting the winery, where they do free tastings year-round, or by visiting their Web site, volcanowinery.com, and placing an order.