This week, we’re celebrating Hawaii Island, the biggest of the island chain. We’re starting this off on the eastside in the Volcano area.

“We’re here at Volcano Winery, the only winery on Hawaii Island. We’re joined now by one of the managers, Ellie Black. Ellie, thanks for joining us today. So what make this place such an ideal place for a winery?” Kristine Uyeno asked.

“Our temperatures here, we do get chilly, so it allows for a natural dormancy for our grapes. We have plenty of rainfall here. So there’s no need for us to irrigate ad we sit on this volcanic rock, it’s high in minerals, so nice, healthy vines here,” Black said.

“And it’s been around actually for more than 30 years. How did it all get started?” Uyeno asked.

“Well a retired veterinarian, I believe from Oahu, came over and started to plant grapes but it was more of a hobby for him, we did change ownership in the 90’s and the current owner turned into a larger production which is what it is today,” Black said.

“What makes the winery so unique in terms of the ingredients?” Uyeno asked.

“We use a lot of local ingredients, we use honey from the islands. We use a berry and guava fruit and grapes that we grow here. Just trying to get people involved in supplying the berry, they can be a part of wine making,” Black said.

“How has the customer base been since the eruption of Kilauea?” Uyeno asked.

“Well summer has been pretty slow for us, but we were fortunate enough to stay open and we didn’t have to close at all and it definitely has picked up,” Black said.

“If they want to visit the winery, what do they need to know?” Uyeno asked.

“We’re open from 10-5:30 everyday, we have cheese platters $10 to taste our 8-table wines, we also have estate wines available for sampling,” Black said.

“And what’s the most popular wine you have?” Uyeno asked.

“Volcano Red, hands down,” Black said.

“So Volcano Winery, located right here in the Volcano area and it is open almost all year round and it’s only a 45-minute drive from Hilo,” Uyeno said.