Wine Industry Finds a Companion in Marijuana
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Wine Industry Finds a Companion in Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 14, 2017 at 17:26:29 PT
By Eric Asimov
Source: New York Times
USA -- Legal intoxication is big business and getting bigger. More states have legalized marijuana, leading some in the alcohol industry to regard it as a threat to their profit margin.Those concerns are warranted in some cases. In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, where recreational use has been legal for several years, beer sales are down, mostly among mass-market brews. The liquor industry opposed several marijuana legalization initiatives last year, and has expressed fears for its bottom line.
The fine wine industry, however, has not panicked. Despite occasional efforts to pit wine and weed against each other, people in the wine business exude an air of mellow acceptance that the two substances can coexist in harmony.“People are trying to say there is a threat, but I really haven’t talked to any wine industry person yet who actually sees it that way,” said Tina Caputo, a freelance wine and food writer, who in August will be a moderator at the first Wine & Weed Symposium. The event, a wine industry initiative, will explore possible business opportunities in California, which legalized recreational marijuana use in November.“We haven’t actually seen anybody who’s laying down their glass of wine to pick up a bong,” Ms. Caputo said. “There’s room in people’s lives for both.”What brings consumers of cannabis (the marijuana industry’s preferred term) together with lovers of wine, craft beer and artisanal spirits is a sense of connoisseurship.The idea that alcohol and marijuana are in competition comes from those whose primary reason for drinking is inebriation. These are the people who are more likely to trade one intoxicant for another.This is not to dismiss the buzz factor of wine. Many people begin to explore wine, beer and spirits out of curiosity about alcohol, and for some, the reason to drink will mostly be the chemical effect.For others, different considerations take precedence as they explore beer, spirits and wine. How does it smell and taste? How does it go with food? What were the grapes? Where did they come from? Who made the wine and what is their history? How does it express culture?This sort of curiosity leads eventually to discourse, by which I emphatically do not mean stuffy snobbery and phony mastery, but rather discernment: the ability to notice differences and express preferences.Marijuana inspires a similar conversation.Robert Mark Kamen is a screenwriter whose works include “The Karate Kid,” and the “Taken” and “Transporter” series. He also grows grapes and makes fine wines at Kamen Estate in Sonoma, Calif. And he loves marijuana.“I can tell you just as the side effect of wine is the high, so too is it with weed, although the experience is different,” he said in an email recently.“There are different flavors and bouquets to good weed, and different strains that elicit different effects,” he added. “There are real body highs, and real stony highs, and there are highs that are cerebral and ethereal. There are levels of socializing that can be enhanced or inhibited, depending on the strength and the amount you smoke.”Mr. Kamen’s vineyard is overseen by Phil Coturri, one of the leading organic and biodynamic viticulturists in Sonoma and Napa Counties. Renowned for his vineyard practices, Mr. Coturri is as exalted locally for the marijuana he has grown as a hobby for almost 40 years. At first, Mr. Coturri said, he grew it to supplement his income from managing vineyards. But he came to love the marijuana plants themselves.“As Nero Wolfe would take care of his orchids in his brownstone, I would spend a couple of hours a day cultivating cannabis,” Mr. Coturri said. “I can’t see myself not harvesting grapes every year for the rest of my life, and I can’t see myself not growing marijuana for the rest of my life.”Himself a bridge between the two worlds, Mr. Coturri sees marijuana as a complement to wine rather than a competitor. Many in the wine industry are ardent fans.“Our world revolves around intoxicants, but it also revolves around flavor,” he said. “Just as we look at wine, we might look at a bud and dissect its aroma and characteristics.”Like wine, marijuana is an agricultural product, and where it is grown can determine its character.“How you grow it really affects the flavor and the high of the pot,” Mr. Coturri said. “If it’s grown in a greenhouse, it’ll be a lot different than if it’s grown in the hills. It thrives in certain soils and with a long growing season.”Just as with wine, the marijuana industry is diverging, Mr. Coturri said, between inexpensive plants grown in quantity indoors or hydroponically, and marijuana that, like good wine, has a sense of place.“There is going to be a high-end marijuana industry, with distinctive strains and distinctive effects,” Mr. Coturri said. “And then you’ll have your ‘Walmart pot,’ your ‘Yellow Tail of pot’ that will be insipid.”He sees artisanal cannabis as a growth industry, evolving as craft beer did, with new strains and hybrids developed by visionary farmers.Marijuana, like wine, has the ability to articulate its terroir, Mr. Coturri said, adding that cannabis growers have already inquired about creating the equivalent of American Viticultural Areas, a system of appellations for wine-growing regions with common characteristics.Mr. Coturri spoke of the many similarities between wine lovers and marijuana lovers, who may discuss the differences between the indica and sativa species of pot. Indica tends to have more exotic aromas and is more relaxing, almost like a sedative, while sativa, with its greener, almost piney flavor, offers a more active, productive high. Some prefer marijuana that is young and fresh, while others like it aged, or cured, storing it in humidors.As for competition, Mr. Coturri said he had not experienced it, except possibly in the hiring of seasonal workers for harvests. He attributed the labor shortage more to fears among immigrants stoked by the Trump administration than to the marijuana industry, which he says is hiring roughly the same number of workers for harvest that it has for years, regardless of legalization.“I see marijuana growing as something underground that is coming to the forefront,” he said. “It’s almost a companion piece. I don’t see competition with the wine industry at all.”Collaboration is a likelier scenario. In Colorado, where marijuana tourism has flourished, one company, Cultivating Spirits, offers dinners that pair food, wine and cannabis. The Wine & Weed Symposium in California will examine how legalization will affect the wine industry and how the cannabis industry has evolved in other states. It will also explore ways that the two industries can work together, especially in areas of regulation, tourism and hospitality. And of course, in the days before legalization, winemakers sometimes made marijuana-infused wines for private consumption.I’ve seen weed wine made in California and weed wine made in France. It’s probably made anywhere that people smoke pot and produce wine. Now, the first commercial combinations of cannabis and wine are showing up, like CannaWine, a Spanish wine that has been fermented with marijuana. This manufacturing process, over a prolonged period, apparently produces a gentler high than, say, the abrupt elevation that might come from consuming pot brownies.Source: New York Times (NY) Author: Eric Asimov Published: April 14, 2017Copyright: 2017 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on April 18, 2017 at 21:05:43 PT
This place
These people here. You. All of you have been so important to me. I love you all.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 16, 2017 at 09:55:00 PT
You are a walking miracle! I know all will be good for you! You have always been such a Blessing to me and I know you have been to many people.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 16, 2017 at 08:34:38 PT
I'm so happy to hear Lou and Mary
are doing well. I feel like a walking miracle. This summer I'm seven years out from that diagnosis of stage three, triple negative breast cancer. My wonderful oncologist, a D magazine top rated doctor, says if I pass this landmark, I'm home free. She said that triple negative was a "Bad actor" and she really seemed to expect it to come back, somewhere, pretty early on. Now she's happily saying she's only had one patient who it came back on this late in the ordeal... and never seen one when it came back after seven years out. So.... I'm happily looking forward to being free "Forever", the rest of my life, of the thing that tried to kill me. She says this seven year landmark means it's now likely that that cancer will "Never" come back... anywhere... ever.I understand it's a blessing for sure. I'm a survivor and I'm so thankful.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 16, 2017 at 07:54:56 PT
Today is very special. Lou is up from Florida and the cancer hasn't returned. Mary is still with us and coming here for the first time since she almost died last October. Embrace those you love and forgive those who are so blind they cannot see. Trump is an example to me of everything I find wrong. He might be rich but money means nothing in the end!
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on April 16, 2017 at 06:02:56 PT
Thank you, FoM.
I feel better now that I realize how much the anxiety over the situation is really bothering me. Many blessings and a pleasant day for those who celebrate the resurrection of Christ, today. I love you, too, FoM.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 16, 2017 at 05:35:52 PT
Hope I Love You!
Please try hard to focus on your health. Sorry I need to say this but to hell with this administration. I had a strange but wonderful dream last night about Obama. He was our friend and he in this dream was comforting everyone and it reminded me we have not changed just this administration has changed. Stress is very bad for our health. Look for good and avoid political talks. Trump will be tormented through his whole term if he makes it through one. Remember on this Easter Sunday God is always in control.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on April 15, 2017 at 12:31:21 PT
here you go
>>We haven't actually seen anybody who is laying down their glass of wine to pick up a bong, Ms. Caputo said. Well obviously Ms. Caputo has never met me!  
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on April 15, 2017 at 10:34:12 PT
This new administration.
I haven't been feeling that well lately. Something is wrong. I think I know what it is. It came to me yesterday why I feel so bad. As a cancer survivor, I was beginning to worry about cancer again. I'm trying to get past another landmark in being cancer free. I'm pretty sure, I feel this bad because I have had this extra burden for a few months now. A heavy burden.I feel the beady, angry, hate filled eyes of Jeff Sessions burning traps into the ground in front of me. I feel like a powerful, wealthy man has some answers, but, though it seems cruel, he won't tell us what he's going to do. He's letting us, me, you worry ourselves sick, or nearly sick, for some reason. And I am. I am worried and afraid. I am and have been worried and afraid a lot because of this limbo that we are in and have been in for some time now. Worried and afraid of what those who would harm others over the plant, cannabis.I read a meme the other day, I don't know if it's true, but it said that the Old and New Testament together has 365 separate mentions telling someone not to be afraid. One for every day of the year. *slight smile* *hopeful smile*It looks bad. It looks real bad to me. Every time I hear another name being brought into the situation, I cringe. All prohibitionists! I am afraid and worried about all the progress we've made being wiped out at the whim of cruel authoritarians. Remember "Knock 'em out, John"? The line, with the guy up in the tree with the lynx... "Just shoot up in here amongst us! One of us got to have some relief!"
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on April 15, 2017 at 05:58:36 PT
Go tell it on the mountain.
It’s about time our president tells us where exactly he stands on marijuanaDenver Post op-ed by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D - Colo.) Post
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on April 14, 2017 at 18:11:21 PT
Ya Well... ?
Yes, this is where we are going...I've always said and you can see this on my LinkedIn page, cannabis/marijuana is not the 'beer industry' model, it is the wine industry model!That's why I got into... ? etc. etc.That is a long story!Check it out, it is worth it I think.Also, in the EU, it is legal to drink... HempBeer! (. com see) with THC in the beer! Absolutely (another brand) awesome!Cheers! Happy Easter Weekend!
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