With the legalization of recreational marijuana cannabis over two years ago, a possibly not-so-surprising group of people have started to expand their growing (and money making) potential — Oregon vintners!
Because of California’s approaching legalization, Oregon vintners are experimenting with new cross-pollinations to keep up with current Oregonian demand, as well as future demand from their southern neighbors. But, this is not just about keeping up with supply and demand. It’s about creating a new cross-generational experience, according to some.
Barbara Steele, from Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden states, “Baby boomers are drinking less. Millennials are coming into their time, economically, where in 2016 they were the fastest-growing consumers of wine, both in dollars and volume…They’re looking for an experience of ‘wine and weed’.”
After The Steeles leased their land last year to grow 30 medical marijuana plants, they are now growing double, using the same labeling as their wine.
“This is an amazing growing region,” said Barbara Steele.
Other vineyards in Oregon have begun taking out portions of grape crops in favor of adding marijuana plants. Some have even considered the idea of a high-end “Wine and Weed” tour with shuttle service and a stops at local wineries for tastings.
“There are a few wineries setting up very large recreational grows right now,” said Brent Kenyon, of the marijuana consulting business Kenyon & Associates, based in southern Oregon. “The ‘weedery’ and the winery. I think that’s huge, and we see it developing.”
There is a financial price with these new business ventures that is keeping some vintners away. Since marijuana is still federally illegal, wineries will have to keep their wine business and weed business separate or risk losing a federal permit that allows them to bottle and sell wine. Meaning, that winery must establish two distinct lots for tax purposes, and keep two licenses with the state. However, vineyards that grow grapes but don’t have a liquor license, could get a recreational marijuana license.
Will you be making a pilgrimage to Oregon for a “Wine and Weed” tasting?
[Editor’s Note: Quotes from Barbara Steele and Brent Kenyon were taking from the article published by Leafly.com entitled, “Wine and Cannabis? Oregon Vineyards Give Marijuana Farming a Try.” ]