Let’s take a moment and honor the tenacity of human innovation. Since the dawn of man, we have struggled, fought, and overcome nearly insurmountable socioeconomic, geopolitical, and biophysical obstacles with the singular purpose of turning organic matter into booze. So cheers to you, the inventors of intoxicants, the pioneers of palliatives, the masters…of…a…m (hiccup)
We find ourselves at the Southernmost winery in the United States, Volcano Winery (we fact-checked the crap out of that sign). A select few cases of wine erupt from this sleepy winery, producing a range of varietals from Pinots to Macadamia Nut Honey Meade. Often grapes are brought in from the mainland to bolster production. In this case WE came from the mainland to diminish their supplies, specifically their Volcano Red.
It’s a rich blend of Symphony and Burgundy grapes plus jaboticaba (so fun to say. Fun to hear over and over? Not so much, the tasting-room attendants’ eye-rolls told us). The jaboticaba is a dark Brazilian berry that’s also grown in the vineyards. While this little wine has made its way around the world snatching up a handful of awards, we just needed it to travel down the street…to the Volcano.
A volcanic crater is another planet. Inhospitable, dark, and desolate. There is a feeling of isolation and distance from all life that is both terrifying and fascinating. We were treading in the wake of absolute destruction. The porous lava rock swallows all sound, no birds, no wind, just the soft “thlump” of a cork pulling out of a bottle, and the lapping “glug” of liquid pouring against paper. Yeah, that’s right, Dixie cups. While some wines may be described a “fruit-forward,” the Volcano Red was forward, backward, and a little side to side. It was rich with ripe berries, mildly tart, and a subtle peppery finish. Of all the wines I’ve consumed in a volcano, this one was the most superb.
Like the explorers before us, I feel like the first Mars settlers will echo these same steps. Through the void of space, the limits of the humanity and the pinnacle of technological advances. Standing triumphantly on that alien landscape, someone is going to crack open a bottle (very anticlimactic if we’re taking alcohol pills or powder or something. I’m hoping we have some amazing hybrid liquors like “Whizcal,” a sweet-earthen American Whiskey in harmony with the floral-smokiness of Mezcal) and get good and drunk to the toast of human achievement.