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Wine With A Volcanic Twist

Updated: Jun 9, 2018

Published By: Tom's Foodie Blog

Article By: Tom Holmberg

To read the full article please visit the link at the bottom of the article

One of the highlights of my trip! There are only two wineries on the Hawaiian Islands chain: one in Maui and one on the Big Island. I had the pleasure of visiting Volcano Winery on our way to Volcano National Park. Since I made it there, I’ve technically made it to 50% of all wineries in the State of Hawaii 😉

The owners, Delwin and Marie, who took over the winery from their son, have been enjoying their role as gentleman farmers ever since.  The property sprawls over 64 acres of fertile volcanic soil, which Del uses to grow wine grapes and tea trees. Although the grapes vines were relatively young in wine making terms, they were already forming thick stalks and producing large clusters of grape buds. 

Since this winery was build on an old Lava flow, Del showed me how they have to cut out sections of lava rock cover to uncover the volcanic soil just below the 3 inch thick lava rock. We also got a view of their tea bushes, which are used to make the estate grown tea and tea-infused wine.

Tea Tree Groves at Volcano Winery

During our tour of the facilities, DeI showed us his tea tree grove, which included the Japanese tea varieties Bohea, Benikaori, Yutaka Midori and Yabukita. Tea Trees are in abundance on the island, as the climate is ideal. I sampled several of his teas and they were fresh, vibrant and delicious.

Aside: Did you know White, Green and Black Tea come from the same tea tree?  Yes, it is true, on the branch of a tea tree the young leaves at the top are used to make white tea, the slightly older leaves are used to make green tea and the large, old leaves lower down the stalk are used to make black tea. Things you learn on a winery tour!

How does volcanic soil effect the flavor of wine?  There is a scientific theory called “terroir”, which states that the character of the soil is most responsible for the character of the wine. Volcanic Soil is very alkaline, for example, and tends to impart the flavors of Big Cherry, berries and accents of flowers, spices into Pinot Noir.

Macadamia Nut Honey Wine

This was a award winning mead style “wine” that is made by fermenting  macadamia nut pollen honey to make a very sweet dessert wine. The flavor is clean and uses the blossoms of macadamia nuts to accentuate the flavor. I’m normally not a fan of sweet wines, but this one actually impressed me.

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