You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Sunday 5 July 2015

Cannabis wine catching on in California

16th April, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

A number of California winemakers are secretly producing wines laced with cannabis, with Cabernet Sauvignon the grape variety of choice for the blend.

“Pot wine is increasingly fashionable in wine country – much of the marijuana used for the wine comes from California’s weed capital Humboldt County,” Crane Carter, president of the Napa Valley Marijuana Growers said.

“Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stag’s Leap district is thought to pair particularly well with pot,” Carter added.

According to Carter, pot wine delivers a quicker high than pot brownies, and the combination of alcohol and marijuana produces “an interesting little buzz.”

He believes cannabis wine has a bright future in Napa, but for the moment, producers are making the wine in small quantities to be shared in “convivial moments with like-minded people,” according to wine writer Mike Steinberger.

Offered a cannabis cuvée at a Burgundy dinner in New York, Steinberger describes it as having “a pungent herbal aroma that called to mind a college dormitory on a Saturday night – that, or a Grateful Dead concert.”

One Californian producer, who chose not to be named, said cannabis-laced wine is “the only truly original style of wine created in the New World.”

He is just one of a number of winemakers on the Central Coast who are blending two of California’s most prized crops.

To make cannabis wine, one pound of marijuana is dropped into a cask of fermenting wine, which yields around 1.5 grams of pot per bottle; the better the raw materials, the better the wine.

The alcohol from the fermentation process extracts the THC – the major psychoactive compound – from marijuana.

Some producers opt for maximum extraction, keeping the wine in barrel for nine months before bottling it.

In the ‘80s, weed wine was typically made with rosé, with bottles selling for more than US$100 due to the legal risk involved.

Today, possession of one ounce (28.5g) or less of marijuana in California is punishable by a maximum US$100 fine with no criminal record. Medical marijuana was legalised in the state in 1996.

Cultivation of any amount of marijuana is a felony, though people who grow for personal use are eligible for diversion so long as there is no evidence of intent to sell.

There are no fixed plant number limits to personal use cultivation.

13 Responses to “Cannabis wine catching on in California”

  1. Rednail64 says:

    I’ve seen absolutely zero evidence of this here in California. While the spokesperson from the pot grower’s association is quoted, I see no input from any retailers or from the state Alcoholic Beverage agency.

  2. Jason says:

    I doubt the wine producers or growers would admit to it, so naturally you wouldn’t see evidence of it.

  3. shipyarddog says:

    1.5 grams per bottle…hmmm, seems weak but wuld love to try it…never heard of it and live 80 miles from Napa. One correction, you most certainly do not have unlimited ability to grow plants or I would have a farm from sacramento to the Oregon border….depending on the county you are limited to six(sacramento county) and up to 100, (napa county)…so you have to know the local laws!

  4. Ted says:

    I don’t believe the alcohol content of the wine would be high enough to extract the THC by itself. Everything I’ve read about extracting THC using alcohol calls for high alcohol content, such as Everclear. Unless marijuana contains sugar, which I’m not sure it does, then it wouldn’t help the fermentation process by aiding the yeast with food either. I can however imagine a marijuana flavored wine by adding it as it racks, much like adding oak or other flavoring additives, such as the article describes.

    The only way I imagine this working is by extracting the THC first, by whatever method one so desires, and then adding concentrated hash to the wine after sterilizing it, as to not completely mess up the flavor of the wine. This is how I think they can calculate how many grams per bottle a pound will produce.

    There’s a million ways to attempt this, but it would take a lot of experimentation. I don’t think it would be very hard (I brew beer and work at a winery), but it certainly would be trail and error.

  5. john says:

    Tried it and it was great!! Only had half a small glass and was in the clouds!!! Trust me it works!!

  6. Cannabis Broker says:

    I wonder if the end product, cannabis wine, is actually still as potent as the rolled up version?

  7. Ted says:

    @John. Name, brand and location or you’re not being honest enough for me to believe it’s even possible besides just dissolving hash into a wine. Tell us more.

  8. Jay says:

    Visiting Napa next month for wine tasting any idea where we could try it?

  9. Petr says:

    Where I can buy this wine online?

  10. Jan says:

    Back in the day, an ex’s big brother put some cannabis in a bottle of vodka, left it for ages, strained it out and let me tell you! It was amazing. I think Absolut should bring out a new line – Absolut Mary Jane

  11. 420 College says:

    oh wait, how are they growing the cannabis that they are turning into wine?? illegally?? I hope not. http://420college.org

  12. ARJUN says:

    I AGREE WITH TED .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Top wines of Bordeaux 2014

The 10 best wines of the Bordeaux 2014 vintage as voted for by Liv-ex’s more...

Top 10 banned alcoholic drinks

The drinks trade has seen its fair share of drinks banned from public more...

World's most extravagant wineries

With Château Margaux preparing to unveil its new winery and cellar, designed more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

US wine brand hopes to ape craft beer success

A wine brand from California is hoping to ape craft beer’s success in the UK more...

The London Wine Fair in pictures

From red trews and foie gras macaroons to 2CVs, wine on tap and temporary more...

Suntory's exquisite 3D-printed ice cubes

As far as advertising campaigns go, this collection of miniature ice cube more...

E-commerce, Sales & Marketing Executive

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary and bonus package based on experience and qualification.

Top 10 new products

This month's top releases include a Champagne tankard designed by Pol Roger, more...

Top 10 architectural wonders of the wine world

You don't have to look far to find stunning examples of architectural prowess more...

Top 10 Negroni spots in London

As the Campari Red Night District takes over London's Shoreditch, we round up more...

Hatch Mansfield – Brand Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary

10 richest people in the UK drinks trade

As The Sunday Times Rich List 2015 reveals the wealthiest individuals in more...

Top 10 ways to reuse a wine bottle

If you are anything like the db team, it won't take long to amass a collection more...

Mumm releases Santana sparkler

Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana has teamed up with Mumm Napa to release a more...

Digital and Communications Executive

£22,000-£26,000 dependent on experience

Top 10 estates for en primeur returns

db rounds up the 10 best Bordeaux estates for en primeur returns on more...

Californian wine struggling with supply

There is a "growing mismatch" between supply and demand that is badly hampering more...

Top 12 Australian fine wines

Australian fine wines have made the headlines of late. But what are the names more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Top 10 modern wine drinker stereotypes

From Rioja lovers to Champagne quaffers, the drinks business has more...

Top 10 wine brands 2015

In a year that saw major shifts in the global wine market, the drinks business more...

How to become a 'wine expert' in four hours

A doctor of psychology has devised 10 simple steps which he claims can set you more...

Global Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Competitive

Top 10 worst estates for en primeur returns

Using Liv-ex's data, db rounds up the worst 10 châteaux for en primeur more...

Fine dining resto to serve wine on tap

Proving that the trend in the UK has spread beyond casual dining venues, fine more...