VINUM, ET AL: Wines, Waves, Wilderness…Weed

Wine ~ Waves ~ Wilderness.  That’s the Slogan You See on a Billboard on Highway 101 Near the Sonoma / Mendocino County Line. When I drive by the billboard, I can’t help but verbally augment the slogan with Weed.  It sounds so much more poetic with the added syllable. It just begs the excess of alliteration and I am sure I’m not the only one to have the same thought. The era of marijuana prohibition is rapidly coming to a close. Perhaps the Mendocino marketing team will weave in the weed. Historically, there has always been banter in the wine biz about small production versus large production. The same discussions are red hot in the cannabis arena.

In my opinion, I think there’s a bit too much fear about the corporate Mary Jane agri-scene. Sure, there’s going to be large-scale, non-region specific, dumbed-down, bulk pot grown in California’s Central Valley and it should be bottom shelf and it should be cheap. Just like most wines from the Central Valley should be cheap.  

Think of bottom-shelf wine brands – most of which are produced by Gallo or Franzia – Barefoot, Mirassou, Apothic, Charles Shaw and so on. I don’t really care what people drink. I do, however, have a penchant for informing folks that these wines are no better than buying a box of wine. In fact I think a handful of the boxed wines are superior to some of the bottled brands I mentioned.  

Bottom line, they are bulked-out bottom-shelf wines. They are simple, sometimes overly sweet, certainly manipulated and inferior overall. You know…you get what you pay for.

When you consider the non-essential, luxury consumables like wine, cheese, ice cream and chocolate there’s a bottom and top shelf for all of these goodies. Cypress Grove versus Winco block. Häagen-Dazs versus America’s Choice Tub o’ Vanilla, Dick Taylor versus Hershey. The same scenario will settle out with the business and marketing of weed.America’s Choice Tub o’ Bubba Kush will find its way to the bottom shelf while Sunboldt Grown Loopy Fruit will circle aloft.At the end of the day there’s choice in a free enterprise environment: Top shelf, bottom shelf and a crowded middle. 

Written by Pam Long

Pam Long is a wine educator, consultant and writer.  Consider a career in the Wine and Beverage industry and earn your Wine Studies Certificate through HSU’s eLearning & Extended Education.  Email Pam:
Emerald contributor since March 2012


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