Roll up a towel, wedge it under the door, and put on a record — Alice Coltrane or some pre-disco Bee Gees. You may have to part the paisley curtains on your way in. And find a comfy cushion to melt into. Are we smoking weed? Nah, we're drinking wine, man. According to a report in The Daily Beast late last week, it's the new thing.
Michael Steinberger writes that marijuana-fermented wines are no longer a novelty but a full-blown trend, as more and more vintners throughout California's Central Coast and fertile northern valleys are combining two popular buzz-delivery systems in one bottle. Still sounds like a novelty to us, just a slightly less novel one — now that The Daily Beast has blown up the spot like a straitlaced R.A. getting all vigilant on his rounds.
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The batches are still small, and the participants still inclined to whisper about their stony proclivities, but the author makes it sound like grape-growers and grapes-growers have more in common than some dirt on their overalls, citing a few fairly fascinating historical overlaps between the two industries.
In pot wine production, the fermentation process converts the grapes' sugar into alcohol, and the alcohol in turn lovingly draws the THC from the steeping marijuana. Of the stuff's origins, Steinberger writes:
[I]t was being produced in California as far back as the early 1980s. At the time, the Reagan administration was ratcheting up the war on drugs, and marijuana wine had a whiff of danger about it, ... It typically was made then with rosé wines and ... because of the legal risk involved, bottles were selling for more than $100. ... These days, though, the marijuana is typically blended with robust reds such as cabernet sauvignon and syrah, and because cannabis has largely shed its illicitness in California, there is not much of a paying market now for pot wine; it's really just a party drink that winemakers break out whenever the mood strikes.
In other words, it's the thinking snoot's bongwater cocktail.