Marijuana-infused cocktail mixers arrived on the scene earlier this year to make happy hour that much happier (or, at least, chiller). But folks living in California can skip the mixers altogether now that cannabis wine is on the market. While some 420-friendly states like Oregon and Washington prohibit the sale of cannabis-infused alcohol, The Golden State has no problem letting your glass overflow with green vino.
Cannabis wine isn’t a new thing. It’s been around since ancient China when doctors combined wine with marijuana resin to create an anesthesia. But with the recent legalizations happening all across America, weed wine is the drink of the moment for connoisseurs with a medical marijuana license.
If you think winemakers are simply infusing vino with buds of the green stuff, then there’s a lot more you need to know about the process. Both Mary Jane Wines and Canna Vine use the cannabinoid CBD to create their magical liquids. Mary Jane derives their CBD from hemp, which is legal to import in the United States. Though marijuana and hemp are not the same plant, they are both types of cannabis and share a similar genetic makeup. Canna Vine, on the other hand, uses actual marijuana to give its wine its signature green color. Winemakers wrap a pound of cured marijuana in cheesecloth, then add it to a barrel of grape juice and leave it to ferment and age for a year or longer. Because fermentation temperatures hit about 90 degrees at most, only the CBD is released from the weed—THC doesn’t decarboxylate until 220 degrees Fahrenheit. The main thing to know about CBD is it doesn’t contain any psychoactive properties like THC, so CBD-enhanced wine won’t make you feel high, but it will encourage muscle relaxation and mental tranquility.
Both Mary Jane and Canna Vine pride themselves on making quality products that aren’t gimmicky. These are bottles you can actually serve at a dinner party, not just something to hilariously break out at Coachella. The winemakers pay attention to the flavors in both the grapes and cannabis to create a harmonious product. For example, Canna Vine told the L.A. Times that a strain called Cherry Pie goes particularly well with Grenache rosé, and a pineapple-scented bud is the perfect match for Viognier. But with this high level of craftsmanship comes an equally high price point. Currently, Canna Vine sells half bottles for $120-$400, which probably seems ridiculous to most people who just want a way to relax after work. But for the true marijuana connoisseur, it’s a small price to pay to stay ahead of the cannabis curve.