Pot Wine: California’s Hidden Secret

Wine connoisseurs move over your Romanee-Conti, Leflaiv Montrachet and Ribera del Duero and make room for Cuvée MJ a/k/a Pot Wine. For years select California winemakers have been setting aside a batch of marijuana infused vinos that some tout as ‘super-potent’. Although not sold but simply offered to VIP’s, this mind altering gustatory delight is really just another of so many available ingestions that ‘legal’ dispensaries have had on their shelves for years. This includes everything from the classic pot brownie to infused truffle oil, marinara sauce and even pot laced candy. Pot wine, however, remains a ‘specialty’ behind-closed-doors uncorked only on rare occasions when the planets are aligned or the winemaker feels a special kinship with his or her guests.

How Pot Wine is Made

It was recently thought that cooking with marijuana required some sort of ‘fat carrier’ like butter or coconut oil due to the fact that the mind altering chemical THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is fat soluble and therefore binds to fat cells. However, it seems that the alcohol in wine and beer making does the same thing (yes there’s pot beer too). To make pot wine you have to dump about a pound to four pounds of weed into a fifty-nine gallon barrel of fermenting grapes. After the allotted ‘steeping’ period of anywhere from a few months to several years, the pot particulate is siphoned off along with the grape extract and you have yourself some serious cannabis cuvée.

The Results

As reported in Gourmet live in 2011, pot wine was described as follows, “The result is a spectrum ranging from a gentle, almost absinthe-like effect to something verging on oenological [meaning wine science] anesthetic.” Some pot wines, because of their underground illegality, are also fermented at a higher alcohol content so in essence you experience not only the result of the THC but also the potential inebriation of the alcohol. In addition, ingesting marijuana is very different from smoking it. According to German researcher, Franjo Grotenherman, he states “In the case of oral ingestion the effect sets in delayed after 30-90 min, reaches its maximum after 2-3 h and lasts about 4-8 h.” Overall, ingesting marijuana, for some, can be equivalent to an acid trip inasmuch that because of the slow, potent absorption, hallucinogen-like results may occur (for some lucky people).

The History

Interestingly, pot wine can be traced back to the early 1980’s at the same time the Reagan administration was gearing up their ‘War on Drugs’ campaign. It was somewhat of a thumb in the eye of its Orwellian attempt at including marijuana on the same list as cocaine, heroin and other addicting, synthetic concoctions. At the time, if a bottle was even allowed to be sold it could reach prices of a hundred dollars or more.

Pot wine is truly a progressive product. There may come a time when pot wine is ordered in a fine restaurant by a blogger, a green architect, professor of cannabis and a naturopathic doctor quietly discussing how Middle East peace was finally obtained through the legalization and global acceptance of Mother Nature.


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