You would probably think someone is high on weed when they suggest weed-fermented wine… Well, as most unthinkable things nowadays, it is the latest craze, according to VinePair.
Historically, wine fortified with cannabis hasn’t been guzzled at the average Thirsty Thursday happy hour. Instead, pot-wine has been consumed during religious rituals and used as a form of anesthesia in surgery. Yes, it’s that powerful. Records of the marijuana plant being utilized for medicinal purposes date back to the 28th century B.C. In China during the second century A.D., archaeologists found records showing that the founder of Chinese surgery, Hua T’o, used wine fortified with cannabis resin to reduce pain during surgery.
While the exact recipes for the pot-wines of yore aren’t available, a commonly used manufacturing method now is cold-pressed, never heated. It may not have the exact psychotropic effect one would expect. Instead, cannabis acts more like an herb would, adding depth of flavor and structure to wines. Melissa Etheridge, who became an unlikely, vociferous advocate of medical cannabis after going through a bout of chemotherapy, has created a line of pot-wine through Greenway in California, called “No Label.”
The Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter, Melissa Etheridge, is eagerly embracing her role as a “ganjapreneur” and it’s hard to think of a better place on earth than California to launch another wine revolution. California wines are known for their robust, daring flavors and vertiginously high alcohol content (consumers are demanding fuller-bodied flavors from wines, so producers are leaving grapes on the vine for longer to ripen, which ends up imparting more flavor but also packing more alcohol) and California culture is known for it’s paradoxically assertive and laid-back approach to launching and then dominating new, upstart markets and ideas. And winemakers in Northern California have allegedly been making it for decades – it was probably just a matter of time before someone canny capitalized on the opportunity.
Greenway, founded in 2005 in Santa Cruz, the first dispensary in California to be backed by both the city and the state, embraces both the medicinal and the recreational possibilities of cannabis, and is at the forefront of making cannabis consumption as delicious and sophisticated as possible.
“Cannabis is highly medicinal,” Lisa Molyneux, Greenway’s founder-farmer says. “And even when people think they are just using cannabis recreationally or to relax, it probably has an underlying medical or psychological component.
“I am a wine-lover and I truly believe that a glass of wine a day can be medicinal too,” she explains. “The problem is, few people stop at one, so the health benefits kind of fly out the window when you’re downing three or four glasses a night.”
Once I got clearance from my legal team and was able to sell a wine tincture at Greenway, I heard from a lot of wine-loving customers that two ounces of the tincture was all they needed to get the relaxing effects of wine. Ironically, my wine tincture is probably helping people drink and smoke less!”
But how legal is it?
Unless you’re up for making a home brew yourself, Marijuana wine is (somewhat) available and legal in America, and probably will become increasingly so in the years to come. (About 53% of Americans support marijuana legalization now, compared to roughly 42% of Americans in 2010, according to Pew Research). Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska – and the District of Columbia have passed measures legalizing marijuana use, 14 states have decriminalized certain amounts of possession and 23 states plus D.C. have legalized medical marijuana.
In California, it’s legal to possess and cultivate cannabis for personal medical use given the recommendation or approval of a state-licensed physician. Patients are commonly issued a cannabis ID card. About 572,762 Californians are thought to be card-carrying cannabis users (out of a population of more than 38 million).
Would you be eager to get your hands on a bottle of weed-wine?
Here are more articles on the subject:
- Californian Vintners Are Putting Weed in Their Wine