A Wine & Weed Collaboration?

A Wine & Weed Collaboration?
by John Dyrek
The Wine Industry Network (WIN) is hosting the first Wine & Weed Symposium http://wine-weed.com with a focus on the legalization of cannabis in California, expected impact and opportunities for the wine industry, and ways that California wine and cannabis producers can coexist. This educational event will be held on August 3rd at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa, CA.
This highly informative event will provide those in the wine trade an opportunity to learn from cannabis experts that understand the challenges of both industries. It’s also a chance for wine professionals to better understand the inevitable competition for consumers and resources (land and water) and to prepare for the changing business environment. To this end, the symposium will also include vendors showcasing products and services for wineries and grape growers interested in expanding into the fast growing cannabis market.
As one can imagine, the wine and cannabis industries have much in common: agriculture, technology, region (AVA), product quality, and marketing to a common consumer. Like the wine industry, cannabis will be heavily regulated and must also deal with legal, financial, compliance and distribution regulations.
With networking and insights from the event’s speakers, you will learn more about why wine and cannabis can make good business partners as well as predictions and parallels/challenges between the two industries. Here’s just a taste of what some of the event’s speakers are thinking:
“The opportunities for collaboration, in everything from the consumer experience, to shared expertise from things as far reaching as compliance and cultivation, are significant.” (A. Rose)
“Both wine and cannabis are agricultural products at their core. Innovation in one industry could very likely benefit the other, especially related to resource efficiency, production consistency, and sustainability. Wine and cannabis are also both products with potential audiences that span the spectrum from price-sensitive budget buyer to extremely sophisticated connoisseur. There’s room in the cannabis industry for large-scale producers and boutique players, just as there is in the wine industry.” (A. Smith)
“The two have a long history of being enjoyed together or separately as companions to philosophical discussion and/or general merry-making and share a diversity of varietals. Our challenge is to buck the trends of modern economics—where growth and quantity are valued more quality and community and to establish a culture—similar to the wine industry—where appellations of origin, standards and connoisseur-ship create opportunity for a broad diversity of farms and businesses.” (H. Allen)
“Cannabis consumers will expect their cannabis to be cultivated with the same sustainable practices as other things they put in their bodies. We need to once and for all remove the stigma around this misunderstood plant.” (R. Bakas)
“Perception has changed positively enough to bring Cannabis to a wide stream demographic, but we have a long way to go. By working together, monetizing land use more strategically, growing 420 tourism and cannabis friendly Wine Country Event spaces, (we will) create a space in the luxury market for both the wine and weed industry.” (N. Blaufarb)
“Consumers in both markets being experience driven more than product driven when exercising their purchasing power.” (S. Edwards)
“Redefine the dominant societal perspective of Cannabis industries via participation in development of farm management systems, breaking of barriers between farmers and government agents and participation in policy development processes.” (H. Hall)
“Regulators on the state and local level will have to strike a balance between meeting their obligations to provide protections for the public while at the same time incentivizing transition from the illicit market.” (T.S. Lencho)
“Outcry for exportation options over state lines by 2019 to provide economic viability for the thousands of licensed producers.” (T. Logan)
“Both can be studied and appreciated on numerous parallel levels — provenance, varietals, terroir, farming & production practices, producers, sensory analysis, etc.  make an amazing product that your customers will love. Don’t do it for the money or market opportunity; do it out of passion, hard work, dedication, and respect for the plant. This in the end is what makes a great wine, and the same holds true for cannabis. Unique opportunity exists for entrepreneurs to capitalize on the transition from a black market lifestyle niche to mainstream usage. And this again is where wine professionals possess the marketing tools and expertise to help usher in a new age of cannabis.” (C. Miranda)
“Cannabis and wine are both about the enjoyment of a plant and a connection to nature. Consumers are eager for information about growing techniques and value both wine making and cannabis farming as a craft. Anyone can make wine/grow cannabis, but only a select few can call it their craft.”   Messaging about mindful consumption and consideration for where the product comes from is very much in line (between wine and weed).” (A. Reiman)
“Cannabis as medicine is the future of this industry for world wide appreciation and growth in healthy alternatives in medicine.” (T. Rodrigues)
“… wine and weed will make great business partners.” (T. Caputo)
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