As legalization pushes through more states, the idea of pot tourism has become a reality. And for some places, like Napa Valley, the idea has some folks scared, and others excited.
In a recent editorial by Shanken News, “Wine Industry Veterans Envision Napa Valley As Leader In Luxury Cannabis” they explore the idea in depth.
After recreational legalization happened in California in 2016 the Napa County Board of Supervisors enacted a moratorium on commercial cannabis activity and cultivation and extended it through 2019. That time is running up soon, and some people in the industry have strong feelings about what’s coming next.
Crop numbers for both hemp and cannabis are booming and the industry represents one of the largest and most prolific growth areas in the economy. The CBD market alone may exceed $2 billion in just a few years, buyoyed by a vast market of vape cartridges, smokable hemp flower, topicals, edibals and skin care products.
Eric Sklar and Stephanie Honig both have extensive experience in the wine industry in Napa. Now they have their sights set on cannabis. The economics of growing pot vs wine seem like a no-brainer.
“An acre of Napa Cabernet is ultimately worth around $50,000,” Honig estimates. “But right now an acre of cannabis would probably yield $2 million.”
However it’s not that cut and dry. The cost of land here in Napa can exceed $1m per acre. Contrast that to, say, somewhere in Lodi or the Central Coast where it goes for 10x cheaper and it doesn’t exactly make sense to start ripping up grapevines in favor of pot.
Then there’s the overall effect growing pot next to wine might have. Cannabis contains inumerable volatile esters and aromatic compounds, many of which could easily find their way onto nearby vines. IMagine the uproar when Shafer’s Hillside Select contains an interesting and previously missing note of skunk…
Still, there’s an interesting idea of pairing wine and weed. They do share many similarities. Both contain a depth of flavor and aroma, and can pair with various foods, or even each other. Super lemon haze with a glass of citrusy Sauvignon Blanc might not be such a bad thing.