As a longtime wine drinker, and relative newcomer to the cannabis space,
I am constantly reminded of the similarities between the two industries; both are occupied by growers who are passionate about how they cultivate their products; both produce natural substances that are consumed to enhance an experience; and both have been used for centuries. Recently, I have been thinking about how wine and cannabis can be used together in a way that is complementary.
The subject of cannabis and alcohol is somewhat controversial; many heavy cannabis users don’t drink a lot of alcohol, and many people who drink alcohol don’t mix in cannabis. This does make some sense, in that too much of either one ends badly when you mix in the other. However, I have found that small amounts of cannabis can enhance my enjoyment of a glass of wine.
While the effect of cannabis is a highly personal thing that can vary from person to person, for me consuming a micro dose of cannabis allows me to focus and be more mindful and present. It is certainly anecdotal, but I genuinely feel that I am more engaged when I have a little bit of THC or CBD on board. Perhaps I am a bit ADD, but I find that cannabis brings focus that is otherwise a bit lacking at times. Again, too much of a good thing and that focus can turn into a myopic trip down a rabbit hole, but a smaller amount taken with the intention of focused engagement, can be just right.
It is with this in mind, that I recently turned my experience with cannabis toward my love of wine. What I love about wine is that it is so nuanced and multilayered. There are many ways to experience wine; there is the color and viscosity, which tells a story, there is the nose, which can be evocative of many different notes (from violets, to blackberry, to roses, to barnyard), and then there is the taste which can range from pencil lead to plums, to black licorice – and this is just red wine. Given that smell and taste can be so ephemeral and short lived, I often struggle to focus on what I am tasting in time to process it. I am constantly right on the edge of comparing what I am smelling or tasting to something familiar, only to lose it before I can identify it.
Through some trial and error, I have found that a 5mg dose of cannabis, taken about thirty minutes before I am tasting wine, has had a profound effect on the way I experience the wine. I am better able to block out the extrinsic noise, and REALLY focus on all of my senses. For me, the nose jumps out of the glass, and as I am drinking the wine I am able to isolate and discern the flavor of the wine at the beginning, middle, and end (in wine-speak the “attack” “midpalate” and “finish”). When you can focus in this manner it really helps you learn more about the wine; was the fruit over ripened? Did the winemaker have a heavy hand with the oak? Is the wine earthy versus fruity? These clues may tell you where the wine is from, what varietals were used, and whether or not the winemaker is any good.
When it comes to enjoying wine, like most hobbies, there are innumerable ways in which to geek out. Some good friends of mine like to do blind tastings: everybody brings a bottle or two wrapped in foil (so nobody can see the label) the wine is poured, and we then try to guess what it is. We start by guessing old world or new world (basically domestic or foreign), then we try to guess the country and region (or state), then we move to varietal, then to age and producer. While I’m sure to many this sounds annoying, pretentious, and nerdy, but for someone who really loves wine, it is a ton of fun. Bringing this back to cannabis, a 5mg edible has been like a secret weapon at these gatherings.
The more I learn about cannabis and its myriad of uses and effects, the more of a fan I become. From its well-documented medical uses, to its long and storied legacy as a recreational product, cannabis has been friend, mentor and an aid to many. Now that it is legal again, there is renewed interest in using it not so much as a means to get high, but to enhance activities. From yoga and fitness, to distance running and dinner parties, cannabis is finding a way into things that are not historically associated with its use. And now you can add one more activity to this growing list – wine tasting!
So, the next time you gather with friends to drink some wine, try having an edible first to enhance your experience. You might even close your eyes and correctly guess that your friend poured you an old-world merlot from the right bank of the Bordeaux region of France, and that it was bottled in 1961. If you guessed correctly, invite me over the next time she is pouring!
 I find that an edible is best, as smoking anything before you drink wine will affect your ability to taste.
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