Hawaii is an offshore US state based around an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, at latitude 20°N. At present the islands, which cover nearly 11,000 square miles (28,500 square km), have only a few wineries producing wine from grapes. Other forms of wine are made from pineapples, guava and even macadamia nut honey. Most of Hawaii's wine is produced on Maui, the second largest of the islands.
Symphony is the key grape variety – in fact the only grape variety – currently used to make Hawaiian wine. It is a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris – both of which are at home in hot climates such as southern France and the eastern Mediterranean. The Hawaii wines made from Symphony are typically slightly sweet and very fruit-driven, with marked floral notes.
The finer vineyard sites in Hawaii are to be found at increased elevations on the sides of the volcanic mountains which are responsible for the island chain's existence. The highest of these, Mauna Kea, reaches its summit at almost 13,800ft (4205m) and is the site of a number of astronomical observation stations. Hawaii has a single wine sub-region, Ulupalakua.
The consumer base for Hawaii's wine is almost entirely domestic, with distribution limited both by geography and trading restrictions. However, reciprocal trading agreements with other US states are now in force.