Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

Snooth needs to investigate this pot wine business...

Posted by dmcker, Apr 18, 2012.

From the Daily Beast a few days ago. Was waiting to see if someone else would post, but guess I have to do it.  ;-)

 

 

Marijuana-Laced Wine Grows More Fashionable in California Wine Country

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Wines fermented with weed were a novelty in the early 1980s, but now quite a few California winemakers are producing cannabis cuvées on the sly—with cabernet the variety of choice.

 

Last year, at a Burgundy dinner in New York, I was given a wine that smelled like no Burgundy I’d ever encountered. Instead, it had a pungent herbal aroma that called to mind a college dormitory on a Saturday night—that, or a Grateful Dead concert. The devilish grin on the face of the friend who offered me the mystery liquid confirmed it: what I had in my hand was a glass of pot wine—yes, as in marijuana-laced.


In the spirit of inquiry, I took a sip, and while it neither got me stoned nor made me want to ditch the glass of 1985 Roumier Bonnes-Mares that I was holding in my other hand, it was certainly a novel experience. But it turns out that pot wine isn’t such a novelty in California wine country; there apparently are quite a few winemakers surreptitiously producing cannabis cuvées.

Curious to learn more about this weediest of wines, I recently spoke with a California vintner who makes it on the side. For obvious reasons, he didn’t want his real name used, so I will refer to him as “Bud.” He told me pot wine holds an important distinction: in his view, it is “the only truly original style of wine created in the New World.” Bud said he is just one of a number of winemakers on the Central Coast who are blending two of California’s most prized crops. The recipe for pot wine, such as it is, consists of dropping one pound of marijuana into a cask of fermenting wine, which yields about 1.5 grams of pot per bottle; the better the raw materials—grapes and dope—the better the wine.

The fermentation process converts the sugar in grapes into alcohol, and alcohol extracts the THC from marijuana. Bud goes for maximum extraction: he keeps his weed wine in barrel for nine months before bottling it. He said he and other winemakers produce pot wine in small quantities, to be shared in “convivial moments with like-minded people.” Those who enjoy it evidently enjoy it a lot: Bud said that at certain wine events in San Francisco, New York, and Las Vegas, “I can’t show up unless I have some with me.”

Drugs have been on the periphery of the California wine scene going back a long time. In the late 1960s, Ridge Vineyards, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Silicon Valley and one of California’s most storied wineries, was something of a magnet for counterculture types. In his 2001 book, Zin: The History and Mystery of Zinfandel, David Darlington wrote that on “spectacular Monte Bello Ridge, psychoactive drugs proved quite popular; one Ridge acolyte—a full-bearded, red-headed individual named Jerry—reportedly ate LSD 64 days in a row, and bottling was frequently performed by someone who held a 750-ml glass vessel with one hand and a joint of primo sinsemilla with the other.” Having tasted Ridge wines from that period, I can tell you that they have aged beautifully and that I have never found any decayed roaches in the sediment. I can also tell you that this sort of thing no longer happens at Ridge.

...

 

So Greg, are we going to have a comparitive tasting with notes and points ratings soon? How about at least pointing us to who's bottling the stuff, until then?  Nice to get that historical perspective on Ridge's MonteBello, but I doubt they are, these days.

Remember, as the article points out, "People love wine, and they love weed"....  

 

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Replies

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Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Apr 18, 2012.

I wonder how many eyes are going to follow this thread?!  :)

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 18, 2012.

Eyes are one thing, keytaps another.

I started a thread on a couple studies in Italy a few months back about how red wine seemingly improves women's sexual health. Seems that was too hot a potato even for most of the Forum regulars, so it dropped from the first page pretty quickly.

Wonder if this thread will suffer a similar fate, even though it seems (to me, anyway) a well-interesting topic...

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 18, 2012.

Very interesting indeed. This looks a lot more realistic than the Italian sexual health post at least ; )

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Reply by barri0s1872, Apr 18, 2012.

i've only had one wine that reminded me of pot and that was the Grgich (spelling?) Chardonnay about four or five years ago... .and i loved it... but i don't know if they laced it LOL

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 18, 2012.

Jon, that Italian research was real.

I'm so tempted to go off in so many directions with this current topic, but I'll bide my time and wait and see if the thread gains any legs...  ;-)

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 19, 2012.

All I can say, is I'd like to get some of this stuff, and a lot of it. Have many a friend who would be interested in it as well. I'll keep the Italian research under my hat.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 19, 2012.

Definitely has already progressed to connoiseur-like behavior when "(the) president of the Napa Valley Marijuana Growers... says... much of the marijuana used for wine comes from Humboldt County... but... cabernet, Napa’s main grape, is the variety of choice for marijuana-seasoned wine, and that fruit from the Stag’s Leap district is thought to pair particularly well with pot." 

Wonder what the labels look like--and, who's clued into the Napa or Sonoma winegrower scene and can give a little help to a friend, here?  ;-)

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Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Apr 19, 2012.

Yes, it does sound like they have been experimenting and perfecting this for a while.  This is beginning to sound an awful lot like the escapades of the Prohibition era.

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Reply by steve666, Apr 19, 2012.

One extremely prominent pinot grower used to be a regular user, a heavy user, of unapproved of intoxicants, going back about 40 years, and he bought and stored a lot of french wine in those days.  

By the way, LSD dosage has to double every day to get the same effect, so using it every day is virtually meaningless.  I was with a friend who took 16 tabs one night of acid at around 100mcg, got high, but didn't get crazy (most people would be stoned out of their gourd at 250-500 mcg), and the next night he took 32 tabs with similiar effects.  

 

 

 

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 19, 2012.

Dude,

What?

It's Dave.

Dave's not here.

What?

Dude

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Reply by outthere, Apr 19, 2012.

Tomorrow is 4-20. In Sonoma County it's a hallowed holiday.

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Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Apr 19, 2012.

Outthere - I guess that the police for the University of Colorado disagree.

GDP - I believe the quote goes:

Chong: "Who is it?" 
Cheech: "Its Dave man! Will you open up, I got the stuff with me!" 
Chong: "Who?" 
Cheech: "Dave man, open up!" 
Chong: "Dave?" 
Cheech: "Yeah Dave, come on man open up I think the cops saw me!" 
Chong: "Dave's not here!"

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 20, 2012.

Yeah it's been a while since '4:20' or 'DT' or whatever other phrase has flown under most radars. Imagine Golden Gate Park will be packed out, Parliament Hill in Ottawa crazy, the U. at Boulder will be silly and even Otago U. down in NZ was deluged today (it's already late afternoon on April 20 over this side of the Pacific) with hazy-cloud crowds.

So where do likeminded individuals gather nowadays in Sonoma? Have been in homes in Sebastopol and Jenner (guess Gualala nor Marin don't count) on this day in the past, but didn't congregate in any kind of outdoors crowd.

And wonder who'll be waving around bottles of pot wine?  ;-)

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Reply by outthere, Apr 20, 2012.

So where do like-minded individuals gather nowadays in Sonoma? 

Where else but Humboldt Street.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 20, 2012.

Ah, Santa Rosa CC... Seems a long ways to go from Forestville!  ;-)

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 20, 2012.

Happy 4-20 all, i'm ironically coming out of retirement (2 years anyway) and heading to Anaheim to record a bass track for a band named Foreign Press. Should be some 4-20'ing in the vicinity as well I'd assume.

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Reply by outthere, Apr 20, 2012.

Long ways? I was in Santa Rosa at 4:20 and was fully disappointed in the lack of  skunk in the air. Seemed to be an awful lot of PD presence downtown though. Probably had something to do with it. I thought Courthouse Square would have been in a cloud.

Anyhow, settling down ow with a 2010 Bedrock Casa Santinamaria white field blend that is just rocking my 80+ degree Friday evening while I wait for the charcoal to come around.

Life is goooooooood.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 21, 2012.

Sometimes it is hard to fully understand the uniformed mentality. At one point a close family member oversaw the sheriff's dept and other county personnel out of Santa Rosa (and another was going to that JC). But that was back when "4:20" definitely flew under their radar.

Do like those Bedrock fieldblends, though.

And enjoy yourself, Jon. Sounds like you should...

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 23, 2012.

So now we have to add a fourth leg to our terroir/typicity/winemaking stool:  THC content. 

Not sure I want to mix the two in one vessel, but not at all surprised there's so much overlap.  I've looked at properties up near Guerneville that I think would be great for growing syrah (if I had unlimited money to lose) that also look pretty ripe for an outdoor grow.  And heaven knows my winemaker friends down in Santa Cruz buy their wines from other growers, but their backyards are ideal environs for sacramental herb.

JD, how'd the recording go?  Let us know when we can sit on the back porch with the mood altering substance of our choice and listen to it.

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Reply by lakenvelder, Apr 23, 2012.

And then they put their finger in the light socket.

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