Billed as the Big Island’s only winery, Volcano Winery, located in the town of Volcano, in southeastern Hawaii, is America’s southernmost winery. Perched on the summit of Kilauea Volcano and sitting 4,000 feet above sea level, this quaint spot offers a simple, quiet respite surrounded by lush trees and greenery.
A simple wooden sign hanging next to an unassuming gate announces the entrance to the property. Once inside, visitors will enjoy beautiful views of grapevines and tea plants set against manicured green lawns. A small, brown building houses a tasting room and simple gift shop, and another outdoor tasting area awaits guests in fair weather.
The interior of the gift shop and tasting room is bright and airy, with vaulted ceilings, white walls adorned with local artwork, and a light wooden bar. Here, guests can purchase wines by the bottle, indulge in various wine and cheese plates, and browse a small selection of gifts ranging from wine stoppers to corkscrew to trucker hats. This is also where wine tastings and guided tours begin.
There are two options for tasting and learning about the winery’s different libations. First, they offer a guided vineyard and production room tour. This includes a comprehensive stroll through and oral history of the property and culminates with a tasting of six wines and two tea varieties. For those interested in a more casual visit, the wine tasting experience includes a sampling of six of the winery’s wines, either inside or in the outdoor tasting area.
In addition to the setting, what makes this winery so unique are the types of wine they produce. Alongside traditional grape wines, they offer fruit wines and honey meads made to reflect flavors of the island, featuring homegrown and local ingredients.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Yes, you read that correctly. This wine was created to capture the playful spirit of a Hawaiian luau. The golden-colored wine’s sweet flavor comes from a careful blend of white grapes and ripe yellow guava fruit. Served chilled, this is a Hawaiian breeze in a glass.
Macadamia Nut Honey Wine
Although billed as a wine, this blend is made of honey and contains no grapes, technically making it a mead. This very sweet dessert wine is made from 100% local Hawaiian Macadamia nut honey and is perfect as a special after-dinner treat.
Infusion Tea Wine
Wine and… tea? Together? We know it sounds odd, but hear us out. This wildly unique mead takes an age-old combo – tea and honey – and gives it new life as a creatively designed beverage. The winery’s mead is enhanced by infusing it with their estate black tea for 8-15 weeks, giving it a flavor that is crisp, bright, and unlike anything we’ve had before. It may not be for everyone, but we really enjoyed it.
Chow down on a cheese platter during or after your tasting, grab a couple of bottles of wine to go, and snap a few photos on your way out to commemorate your trip to this unique venue. We’re curious to know which wines were your favorites!
-Due to its high elevation, the winery can experience temperatures in the high 30s in the winter and top out in the mid-70s in the summer. Bring a jacket or sweatshirt to be prepared for the cooler climate.
-Volcano Winery is located adjacent to Volcano National Park. Make a day of it by stopping by the park to hike, sightsee, or take some pictures before or after your visit.
-The winery tends to become crowded with tour groups in the middle of the day, so if you’re looking for a quieter experience, try to visit before noon, or after 3:00 p.m.
-Guests who take the guided tour receive a 20% discount on the purchase of bottles, so be sure to enjoy the discount if you taste something you like. Tours must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, so plan ahead.
-Club Volcano is the winery’s mail-order wine club. Members are shipped 3 bottles of wine four times per year and enjoy discounts and free wine tastings when they visit.