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A New Age for Wine?

March 02, 2020

Yes, I’m almost old enough to remember Blue Starwine, and I certainly remember the thankfully brief moment in the sun of the wine cooler, when all manner of fruit juice and flavour was added to wine in an attempt to create a popular, sweet and fizzy means of selling surplus production. But this is something different again…

A story headline turned up in my in-tray this morning that actually gave me a startle. Now I know that for some this is not new news, but I tend to glaze over when cannabis becomes involved – and that’s entirely without having any. The issue is this: would you – perhaps from time to time but not always – consider cannabis, or else a cannabis-related product, as a substitute for wine? Would you? Could you??

This astonishing notion is discussed in an article by Lulie Halstead, the respected CEO of Wine Intelligence, a research business I rate very highly. Lulie spent some time around the San Francisco Bay area, watching, asking and listening as people bought and used cannabis and its related products and participated in her group discussions on the subject.

Some of Lulie’s results are kinda startling. For starters, 16% of monthly wine drinkers in the US are already using cannabis products. Within the 21-34 age bracket that figure jumps to 23%. And around 7% of America’s monthly wine drinkers are drinking less wine because they have switched to cannabis! And legally available cannabis products are a brand-new industry!!!!!

From my perspective, at least, it gets worse. A massive 43% of American monthly wine drinkers would buy cannabis-infused wine if they could get it. You already can, actually. Lulie says that’s more than those who want biodynamic wine (32%) and lower alcohol wine (31%). The same population does however fall behind those who want organic wine (52%). For what it’s worth, there is a Californian winery selling alcohol-free cannabis-infused wine right now.

But that’s really another can of worms, so let me stick with the original one. Are you prepared to substitute cannabis for wine? If so, would you substitute it for inexpensive FMCG wine for $10 or less, or would you actually deny yourself a glass of genuine quality wine for a cannabis-induced high?

These are genuine questions, since I have absolutely zero interest in the stuff. Why am I interested then? To find out if you, the consumer, has it in you to change this industry in an interesting direction. Because, if enough of you do, you will for sure.

Pray tell…

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