On a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, I visited the Volcano National Park and nearby town of Volcano where I discovered the Volcano Winery. Situated on the slopes of Mount Kilauea, the Volcano Winery produces a number of unique wines. After a day of hiking around the rim of the caldera, through lava tubes and across fields of sulfur vents, nothing could be better than sampling locally-produced wine! I was intrigued by the winery’s history as well as its wines.
In 1986, retired veterinarian Lynn “Doc” McKinney decided to take his home wine-making hobby to the next step and established Volcano Winery. McKinney selected Symphony grapes for his vineyard. Symphony is a white grape that is a cross between Muscat and Grenach Gris. The Symphony vines did well with the 4,000 foot elevation and the volcanic soil. Originally having planted just 20 vines, McKinney soon expanded his plantings to cover 14 acres.
In addition to the Symphony grapes, McKinney experimented with local fruits and honey made from the blossoms of Lehua and Macadamia Nut trees. He blended wine grapes with papaya, passionfruit, and other tropical fruits. The results were wines that were uniquely Hawaiian.
The winery grew and was opened to the public in 1993. A few years later McKinney sold the winery to wine aficionado, Del Bothof. Today, “America’s Southernmost Winery” remains a family-run business.
The Volcano Winery sells its wines only to retailers within the State of Hawaii, but is happy to ship your order to the mainland. The tasting room and gift shop are open 10am to 5:30pm every day of the year except Christmas Day. Tastings are free. Tours are available with advance reservations. For directions, visit their website at www.volcanowinery.com or call them toll-free at (887) 967-7772.