What happens when you put together two of life’s greatest pleasures? They make something spectacular. Peanut butter and chocolate, coffee and ice cream, and now, marijuana and fine wine.
Mixing cannabis with alcohol is an ancient practice. For readers not in the know, a concoction of those two substances is what’s called a tincture. Ancient Chinese Surgeon Hua Tuo (c. 140–208) developed a mixture of cannabis powder and wine to use as an anesthetic during medical procedures.
In modern-day times, pot wine was something that California winemakers would create for their friends at private dinner parties back in the seventies and eighties. At the time, the war on drugs was in full swing, so selling something like a fine wine laced with weed was rather incomprehensible.
Now that marijuana has earned a social promotion to the step-child recently invited to the dinner table, weed wine is going to be big — once everything is fully legal of course.
A popular winemaker from Santa Maria California and a dispensary owner based in Santa Cruz have paired up to make Canna Vine. A high-end marijuana-infused vintage made from organically grown pot and biodynamically farmed grapes.
Celebrities Chelsea Handler and Melissa Etheridge love it and have both given the wine their thumbs up. Etheridge’s No Label wine tincture is made by the same winemaker as Canna Vine.
Lisa Molyneux is the cannabis retailer in the partnership and owns Greenway Compassionate Relief dispensary out of Santa Cruz. Her colleague on this venture is popular winemaker Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, owner of Verdad Wines.
So how does a night of pure joy, fueled by a fine cannabis wine get created?
The winemaking pair start the process by having Sawyer Lindquist deliver her gourmet pressed juice to a location in Santa Cruz. Molyneux then wraps a pound of cured marijuana in cheesecloth and adds it to the wine barrel where it will ferment for a year or more.
The two entrepreneurs have experimented with both Sativa and Indica in their blends to give the wines a different experience for the drinker, but their experimentation is much more precise than simple trial and error. They are also looking to pair wine and cannabis using the bouquet from the terpenes in the weed with the bouquet of the fruit. For example, Molyneux told the Los Angeles Times that the strain Cherry Pie pairs very well with a Grenache rosé.
Although these two pioneers are betting on a type of wine that is heavily restricted, as recreational marijuana becomes more prevalent in the U.S. and Canada, the doors to a wine and weed industry could swing open in a moment’s notice.
Having said all that, don’t run to your local wine store for Canna Vine just yet. At the moment, California is the only place in the United States where pairing wine with cannabis is legal, and only for individuals with a California-registered medical marijuana card.
For now, Molyneux and Sawyer Lindquist continue their experimentation with fermentation, and the rest of us will hope to be on the receiving end of a full glass as soon as possible.