Arts and Culture

Visit Volcano Winery – Support Local Agricultural Business

Returning to agricultural self-sufficiency is a priority for communities — and government planners — here on Hawaiʻi Island and throughout Hawaiʻi. The importance of growing the agricultural sector of our economy became even clearer during the past few years.

Double D Ranch at Pukalani Farmers market

I buy local meat from Double D Ranch at the Pukalani Stables Waimea farmers market on Wednesday and Saturday

In my own small way, I support local agricultural businesses whenever I can. From frequenting farmers markets and buying all my meat from local ranchers to committing this year to brew only Hawaiʻi Island coffee in the morning, I know my dollars and commitment makes a difference.

I can get super-serious and passionate on this topic, but today I am feeling a bit light hearted and started thinking about the essential non-essentials: things like coffee, tea, pau hana (TGIF) beverages from craft beers to locally distilled rum; not to mention using vanilla and chocolate grown and processed in the islands. But letʻs talk about wine.

Touring and Tasting at Volcano Winery on Hawaiʻi Island

I had always been a bit skeptical of the wines produced at Volcano Winery and I confess until last Friday I had never even tasted them, let alone toured Volcano Winery. My bad. Whether or not you are a wine drinker, this turns out to be a super educational agrotourism experience.

wine tasting at Volcano Winery

The agents from our Hawaii Life Hilo office arranged a private tour and tasting as a surprise birthday party for superstar broker-in-charge Renee Hill, and I was lucky enough to be invited.

The first thing I learned is that they grow four varietals of grapes on site. Because of the location between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, when the mountains are covered with snow and the wind sweeps down towards the winery, the temperature drops low enough for the vines to go dormant as they were at the time of our visit.

pinot noir grapes at Volcano Winery

Dormant Pinot Noir grape vines will fruit and ripen during the spring and summer months.

I found the Volcano Red an acceptable picnic wine; the Volcano Blush was the favorite with our group, a wine you could try with those hard-to-pair-with-wine foods like curry or Cajun dishes. I look forward to returning when their Estate wines, sold only at the Winery, are available later this year.

In addition to growing grapes and making wine on site, Volcano Winery produces tea. The tea is also for sale in their gift shop – as tea and as a component of “Infusion Tea Wine.” Not a wine to pair with your farm-to-table dinner, but I could see this tea and honey concoction – or the Macadamia Nut Honey wine – as an after dinner cordial with some Hawaiʻi chocolate.

Hawaii Grown Wine, Chocolate, Tea and Coffee

Volcano Winery products with Kuʻia Estate Chocolate from Maui, which I received as my holiday gift from Hawaiʻi Life.

You can stop by for a wine tasting and make your purchases in the store at Volcano Winery 364 days a year without a reservation. Do it on your way to or from a visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. If you want to do a tour like we did, you will have to call to set it up in advance.

And if you canʻt make it over to Volcano, the wines are also available in supermarkets on the Big Island and can be ordered from the Volcano Winery website. Cheers!

PS – did I mention that the Vanillerie is for sale in Kailua Kona?

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