Vineyards Now Pairing Wine And Weed With New Marijuana Crops

Image courtesy of Bob Doran

What pairs nicely with a fine Oregon Pinot Noir? I have no idea, but now that recreational marijuana is legal in that state — and will soon be in neighboring California, as well — vineyard owners are taking advantage of the burgeoning market by adding pot plants to their fields.

A few winemakers have been delving into pot farming lately, either removing fields of grapes and planting the marijuana themselves, or leasing out parts of their land to weed growers, reports The Associated Press.

Some have also played around with the idea of expanding into the pot tourism industry by offering group tours and tastings, much like many wineries do now.

“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,” one vineyard owner told the AP. “They’re looking for an experience of ‘wine and weed.’”

Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, however, wineries have to make sure to keep the two businesses separate so they don’t lose their permits to bottle and sell wine.

But if a vineyard grows grapes and doesn’t have a liquor license, they could get a recreational marijuana license, according to a spokeswoman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s alcohol program.

“We want to be as transparent as possible because when you’re under the federal government umbrella for your wines, you have to be very, very careful,” said one vineyard owner who is setting up a pot operation under a separate name on land next to her grape crops.