It was only a matter of time before cannabis-infused wine became a thing.
Despite the popularity of both wine and cannabis, we don’t see a whole lot about cannabis wine in general. And with so many changes in the industry, it can be difficult to keep up even when new products do emerge.
For now, if you’re not in California, you’re probably not getting cannabis-infused wine anytime soon. But that might not always be the case.
Recent interest in cannabis wine
Several years back, American musician Melissa Etheridge started her own cannabis wine brand, “No Label Private Reserve.” She described it as “infusing wine with cannabis in a cold process that doesn’t activate THC,” and causes a warm body high. This brought some attention to the many possibilities of cannabis and wine.
Lisa Molyneux, a California dispensary owner, pioneered the way for cannabis-infused wine around this time as well. In fact, she partnered with Etheridge for her cannabis-infused wine and also started another brand, Canna Vine.
Now, bottles for Etheridge’s wine were priced around the $420 mark, putting it on the more expensive side for cannabis products. Canna Vine could only be sold to users with a medical license in California. Prices ranged from $120-400 for half a bottle.
Which brings us to the question: How has the cannabis wine industry changed over the years and what’s it like now?
What is cannabis wine and how does it work?
While we can’t speak to home-infusions and experiments, we can say cannabis wines sold in dispensaries are alcohol-free. It’s illegal to sell wine with THC through regular channels but by removing the alcohol, cannabis-infused wine can be sold in some dispensaries.
Now let’s look at how it’s made. One company, House of Saka, emerged in 2018 and uses nanoemulsion technology to infuse cannabis with wine. Put simply, cannabis oil gets broken into tiny, microscopic particles that are water-soluble and self-homogenizing.
This means they can be absorbed quickly through the mouth and stomach lining, taking effect shortly after consumption.
Some other weed winemakers in the industry use different methods but don’t divulge too much information on the process.
Sure, cannabis wine doesn’t contain alcohol, but another benefit to note about weed wine is the low-calorie count. Wines with the alcohol removed are much lower in calories than regular ones, typically coming in between 20 and 40 calories per glass as compared to a hundred or more per glass.
House of Saka
Their grapes are sourced from California’s Napa Valley and blended with craft cannabis. All beverages are alcohol-free, with a balanced ratio of THC and CBD designed to invigorate and relax consumers.
You may notice their website refers to their drinks as “luxury infused beverages” and never as “wine.” This is because of strict packaging and branding guidelines for wine in California.
This wine is also only available in California. You can see the store locator here.
Their alcohol-free cannabis-infused wine contains only 35 calories and about 10 mg of THC per glass. And, according to Rebel Coast, the wine “has every character of an actual wine.
It has high acid, with bright citrus, and a crisp clean finish. Our blend does not taste strongly of marijuana; instead, it powers the mouthfeel. It’s crisp, refreshing and best served naked.”
Prices for Rebel Coast were around $40 to $65 per bottle, a less painful price tag than the initial cannabis wines we were seeing.
Viv & Oak
At just 4 grams of sugar and 24 calories in a glass, Viv & Oak may be the kind of wine you reach for when you don’t want to wake up with a headache or miss out on the fun.
While it’s not available yet, it’s set to be in California dispensaries at some point in 2020. When it becomes available, users can opt for a low dose bottle with 25 mg of THC and CBD per bottle or a high dose bottle with 50 mg of THC per bottle.
The bottles are set to cost $38.
Why isn’t cannabis wine more popular?
Cannabis and wine seem like a match made in heaven, yet we don’t have many options for consuming it. In fact, if you’re not in California, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to getting your hands on a bottle of cannabis wine.
And while combining alcohol and THC is a quick way to get your business shut down, combining THC with an alcohol-free beverage opens the doors for many options.
In California, we’re seeing more companies take advantage of the opportunities provided by Napa Valley.
Regulations and fear of breaking them are probably keeping many would-be enthusiasts from venturing into the wine side of the cannabis industry. Some suggest the lack of growth in this part of the industry could be due to a lack of high profile brands on the shelves already, or because the industry as a whole still hasn’t been deemed “legitimate enough.”
Considering many millennials prefer cannabis over booze, it makes sense for winemakers to move over to a product that fits the desired bill. We’ll see where cannabis wine goes in the future, but for now, it looks like California continues to lead the way.