American wines have fought hard to establish a reputation on the global market, with California
leading the way, but further north, in Oregon, vines have also been planted and now some enterprising growers are diversifying into marijuana.
Recreational weed has been legal in the state for two years now, and some growers, previously wedded to the idea of premium organic eco-friendly
tipple, are now 4.20 friendly, too.
“Last year, we did about 30 plants, we had five different varietals or clones. This year, we’re going to go closer to 60 plants”, says Brian Steele of Cowhorn Vineyard and garden.
It seems wine and a good smoke go well together for Bill and Barbara Steele’s clients, and the market for marijuana is booming.
Growers are struggling to keep up with demand.
“They’re looking for an experience of ‘wine and weed.’ That’s what it’s called, ‘wine and weed’ parties. I would love it if the quality growing region –
that the Applegate is – could supply in equal quantity to the wine industry and become a viable crop here,” says Barbara Steele.
The wineries will have to tread carefully if they want to integrate the two crops. They must keep their wine and weed businesses separate or risk losing
a federal permit that allows them to bottle and sell wine.