Cannabis-Infused Wine – What’s in Store for the Future?
Did you know that infusing cannabis into wine has been practiced for thousands of years? Early records from the Han Dynasty in China point to the ganja and grape combo being used to knock out patients before surgery.
In the United States, cannabis-infused wine was quietly developed in the 80s, in California, where “pot wine” was something wine makers would ferment and share with friends or at private gatherings. It was generally made with rosé wines, in unlabeled bottles, and quite expensive and the war on drugs made it a risky business.
As marijuana laws are changing and make it more accessible, wine drinkers in states like California are increasingly able to enjoy both cannabis-infused wine and all manner of cannabis edibles and medical marijuana.
Melissa Etheridge – the rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist – used to be a casual marijuana user before a breast cancer diagnosis in 2004. After the subsequent chemotherapy she became an outspoken medicinal cannabis advocate, and has even developed her own range of cannabis-infused wine tinctures in partnership with Greenway Compassionate Relief. She calls it “No Label” and the range includes Shiraz and a Grenache.
How It’s Made
Wine makers tend to infuse cannabis into Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, Cabernets, Grenaches, Chardonnays and Viogniers. Cannabis strains have different flavours and effects, and it’s common to use hybrid strains because pure sativas and indicas in concert with alcohol can make drinkers either anxious or groggy. Wine makers tend to add around a pound of cannabis into a wine cask, and the fermentation process marries the THC and wine together. Apparently, the combination gives drinkers a rather unique “high.”
If you’re thinking about making some yourself, it’s not quite as easy as you might imagine. Dropping some some fresh cannabis into a glass of your favorite Chardonnay isn’t going to do the trick, because it’s the fermenting of the wine that draws the THC out of the cannabis and into the wine.
It might be a long time before this ganja-grape duo will be freely available across the country, but in States like Colorado, you might soon be able to pick some up from the local liquor store while there on vacation…