Tropical Bubbles

By Justin Taylor

Wine in its simplest form, is produced by fermenting grapes. Traditionally, grapes of the vitis vinifera species are prevalent throughout the European and Asian continents. The Americas are also home to a bounty of grape cultivars that have been utilized for centuries of American winemaking, mainly in the Eastern United States. But, to go to the farthest western stretch of the Americas, Hawaii has a non-native fruit that does quite well for the production of wine.
Consider yourself on a beach in the warm sunshine, drinking and ice cold glass of sparkling pineapple wine. Sounds pretty exotic, right?! Well for a very niche portion of the wine market, a few American winemakers produce still and sparkling pineapple wine that is just as delicious as it sounds. The fruit itself is very well suited by its chemistry, to be pressed and fermented into a wine.
In the mid 1970’s, one family sought to bring winemaking to Hawaii and in turn built a vineyard that brought the marriage of both wine worlds together. Planting a vineyard at the base of a volcano and connecting with the local pineapple industry, Pardee Erdman developed a business that has taken pineapple wine all the way to a presidential dinner. If you see a bottle, try it out during your first trip to the sunshine and sand.
The answer to last issue’s trivia: Pineapple is the latest fringe fruit to make it into a bottle of bubbly. The Wine and Vine trivia for the next issue: What constitutes a wine in bottle shock?

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