As the cannabis industry continues to accelerate and grow, another world has continually appeared in the stream of consumption-related discourse. The wine world has been a blueprint for the cannabis community, and is now becoming intertwined with the green arena. Naturally, the properties of wine and weed are deeply complex, and can thus be studied at a more discerning level, revealing the product’s origins and depth. From minutely concentrated cultivation methods to the potential connections vino and herb can present to the world, the two create a copasetic model of elevated experiences.
There are over 10,000 wine grape varietals grown around the world, each carrying genetics that create a completely unique flavor profile. Although the number of unique cannabis strains sits at under 1000, new genetics are constantly being produced. A glass of wine tells a story about the terroir, or region, it was cultivated in, as well as the cultivators themselves, the production time period, and overall emotional aura that comes from consumption. Cannabis tells the same story, with a similar human-to-plant connection seen in no other crop; the regional nuances of cultivation develops an anthropological aspect to the end product, a reflection of the love poured into creating wine or cannabis. For example, a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in California is completely different in consumption profile than one produced in, say, the Loire Valley of France. Similarly, an OG cultivated in Northern California tends to possess completely distinct taste and body notes than the same strain grown in Eastern Washington. This worldly quality creates a unique and vivid complexity surrounding the dimensions of wine and bud—something only Mother Earth herself could give the world.
The Court of Master Sommeliers is the highest respected body of wine connoisseurs in the world. Experts in the cannabis community are also accumulating high levels of scientific expertise, sharing their love of identifying the subtle identities of various strains around the world. Having once been deeply involved in the wine community, I have carried over the same principles of study into the cannabis world. The first thing I would do with a glass of wine, after thoroughly giving a visual strip-down, of course, is bury my nose in the glass, collecting the key characteristics of the varietal’s bouquet. Then, when I have gathered enough of an understanding from the scent and sight, I would proceed to taste and note the primary flavor attributes, alcohol content and palate sensations. I now use this method when I consume cannabis flower. The terpene profile of the cannabis plant is essentially similar to the barrel-aging, grape skin contact and key soil components of wine-making, processes that give the two products their unique flavors. As legislation continues to work in the favor of the cannabis industry’s growth, we can be certain to see a similarly established body of industry experts come forth and create a group rivaling the knowledge and prowess of Sommeliers.
Combining cannabis and weed isn’t necessarily new. Plenty of people have caught on to the delightful pairing of smoking and (responsibly) drinking a glass of wine, and there are now wine cultivators directly infusing their wines with cannabis. There has been backlash from this combination, however, and from both sides of the aisle. Some wine professionals see cannabis-infused wine as a flavor profile faux pas, while certain cannabis experts believe the pairing cuts the quality of the plant. Cannabis-infused wine is created by barrel-aging the wine with cannabis leaves, or by adding cannabis extract to the wine 2-4 months before bottling. Cannabis-infused wine is also typically expensive, even for wine standards. The method for creating great tasting, cannabis-infused wine is advancing with new methods and technologies, however, and CBD and THC wines are beginning to pop up more and more in the ever-expanding cannabis marketplace.
As humans, we thrive on what brings us together. Wine has carved itself out to be arguably one of the most mood-enhancing beverages of all time. The cannabis industry is still in somewhat of an impressionable stage, yielding an opportunity to enrich the stories behind the plant’s creation and production. The two worlds of wine and cannabis elevate one other symbiotically, and offer the world a refined consumption experience.