Puff, Puff, Sip: A Look at Cannabis-Infused Wines

May 9, 2020

ty morrison

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I’m sure you did a double take when you saw the title of today’s post appear in your inbox.

Cannabis wine? Is that really a thing? And better yet, Ty, are you over there sippin’ on that sticky icky?!?

I bet so many questions are circling through your mind right now. But, you know what? Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and take one for the wine team. If not me, then who else was going to tell you about this unique wine find? So, let’s put away any judgment or preconceived notions you may have about cannabis because we’re going there today.

Yes, weed and wine—an unlikely pairing, but believe it or not there is nothing new about this type of infusion. According to Cynthia Salarizadeh, founder and president of cannabis-infused wine producer House of Saka, “Cannabis-infused wine has been around for thousands of years, it’s one of the original marijuana products…[It’s] less of a trend and more of a resurgence [now that the] regulations and industry have matured enough for people to bother doing it again.”

Well, I’m sure for many of you this is your first time even hearing about the concept of cannabis-infused wine. So, let’s take a closer look together.

What is “Cannabis Wine?”

Plain and simple: Cannabis wine is a wine-like product that has been infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD). For those not familiar with these terms, both THC and CBD are chemical compounds found in cannabis products. THC (the main component in marijuana) produces a high or sense of euphoria, while CBD is used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm.

Cannabis-infused wine is often made with wine grapes sourced from reputable regions like Sonoma County and Napa Valley. But instead of getting a buzz from alcohol, the sensation stems from the addition of a water-soluble cannabis mixture added to dealcoholized wine. Cannabis wines promise a more manageable high than an edible and more subtlety than lighting up.

How is “Cannabis Wine” made?

Step One: Once the wine is made remove the alcohol, as California law states that products cannot have both alcohol and cannabis. The process is tricky, though, as the dealcoholization can also extract important natural flavors and aromas from the wine. It’s a careful system to keep it all intact.

Step Two: Producers mix carrier agents with cannabis oil, turning a non-water-soluble product into a water-soluble one that is tasteless and odorless. It’s then spun into nanometer-size droplets via a nana-emulsion technology, so that the cannabis integrates with the liquid and is more quickly absorbed when sipping. Activation can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes—comparable to how long it takes to feel the alcoholic effects of a glass of wine.

Oh and once the product is made, it’s even trickier to market and sell it. Cannabis still remains illegal in many states so many brands are sold in California. Also, cannabis wine brands are not allowed to use “wine,” “dealcoholized,” are any other term associated with wine, such as “rosé,” on the labels or marketing. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on a new line of cannabis-infused wines from a producer based right here in Houston.

Let’s Taste and See

I discovered Chapter 38 Wine (@chapter38wine) on Instagram about a month ago. This small wine producer is based in Houston and I just love how this female winemaker is pursuing her dream of building her own wine empire. She currently has about six wines in her portfolio. I was more interested in her cannabis-infused wines since that’s not something that’s easily available in the state of Texas. For reference, the Texas Peach Blend has 15 milligrams of CBD in the bottle and the Citrus Infused Sauvignon Blanc has 21 milligrams of THC. Check out my thoughts below.

2018 Texas Peach Blend (CBD Special Edition -$40)

This wine is a blend of Chardonnay and organic peaches infused with CBD from Texas and the Russian River Valley in California. It was aged in Houston and according to the label it has hints of cinnamon, pear and combinations of a floral acidity finish.

My Take: I noticed that the Texas Peach Blend is a softer yellow than the Sauvignon Blanc mentioned below. On the nose, I got a lot of the cinnamon notes…maybe a little vanilla too, but it was engulfed by this thick sweetness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Just by the aromas alone, I had this weird hunch that this wine was going to be sweet. Whew, and I was right. It was a little too sweet for my palate. You can definitely taste the peaches. It’s hard to tell that it has any Chardonnay in it though. I just got a lot of tropical fruit flavors with a very distinct aftertaste, which I assume was the CBD. I found this wine very hard to drink on its own. I could only take a few sips at a time. This is not something you can pour a full glass of and enjoy. I was told to only have about two ounces at a time AND to drink when you’re at home and don’t plan on going anywhere. I kind of feel like this cannabis wine would be great in a sangria or some kind of fruity drink to give it that extra kick.

2018 Infused Citrus Sauvignon Blanc (special 375ml bottle for $30)

This wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Central Coast in California. The grapes are then fermented in Houston along with pear and apple. According to the label, this wine exhibits 100% classic honeycomb for its finishing flavor.

My Take: Can I just start by saying that this wine smells completely like weed? There is no doubt whatsoever that there is in fact THC in this wine. I couldn’t any even smell any of the other aromas. And it tastes the same way…lol. It almost has this astringent type of taste to it…no added sweetness at all. It’s definitely an acquired taste. Just straight up liquid weed. Again, this is not a wine that you can just chug.

I have to say that I was a bit taken back by both of these wines. I’m not sure what I expected, but neither of these tasted like wine, which is probably why producers are not allowed to market it was as such. It’s very easy to see how the stripping of the alcohol dilutes the very essence of the wine leaving it without much of its structure and flavors. Now, I see why producers have to add flavors back into the wine to make it even somewhat drinkable.

And from what I’ve read, cannabis winemakers are aware that their style of wine does not hold up to what we’re traditionally used to and they’re more than okay with that. It’s just a different way for cannabis lovers to enjoy the substance. So, I guess the last question people are probably wondering is whether or not I got a high from the wine. I was very cautious because I was sampling both wines at the same time. I didn’t get a high, but that tipsy feeling definitely kicks in A LOT faster than with a regular glass of wine. Remember these words when drinking cannabis wines SIP. SLOW.

Other Cannabis-Infused Wines

If you’re interested in purchasing cannabis wine, some other labels you might want to look into include: Rebel Coast, Vik&Oak, and House of Saka.

And, now you’ve been caught up to speed on cannabis-infused wines! Hope you learned something new. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Until next time…glasses up!

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About theBlog

In 2015, I started the YGOM blog as a creative outlet to chronicle my journey to learning about wine. I started off mainly reviewing different wines and wine-related events. As my passion and knowledge grew, I began offering tips and advice to make wine consuming fun and easy for wine lovers, especially those who were novice drinkers. Over the past six years, the YGOM blog has evolved into a valuable resource helping readers better understand their palates.

Today, as the vision for YGOM has expanded, the blog will focus on highlighting fun, out-the-box experiences that put a fresh new spin on wine. Consider this your guide to finding wine activities to add to your “must try” list. We’ll also provide tips and hacks that will teach you how to elevate your own wine experiences whether you’re at home, hanging out with friends, or entertaining a group. YGOM is going to help you feel confident in your wine knowledge no matter the occasion.