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Hemp Wine

Do you love the idea of combining your fondness of wine with your passion for hemp? Then hemp wine could be the answer.

Hemp imparts many nutritional benefits to the wine. These include amino acids and minerals. But don’t worry, this kind of wine doesn’t have any THC.

There are some “high-wines” in the works, and only in specific states that have legalized marijuana. However, we’re not talking about those today.

Who says you can’t get the health benefits of hemp while you drink your wine? They say it’s healthy to drink wine in moderation. Now, you can enjoy what hemp has to offer at the same time.

What is hemp wine?

This drink combines wine and the extracts and flavors of hemp. Some companies also make versions with CBD, though those aren’t widely available.

While wine infused with hemp oil is not available everywhere, there is a growing movement to get this part of the market up and running.

It is well known that hemp provides a wide range of benefits. That means incorporating hemp oil in the wine can add to the relaxation and benefits of enjoying a drop of vino.

How is hemp wine made?

Wineries make this eco-friendly libation in pretty much the same way that they make standard wine. After the grapes are fermented, they add hemp oil and terpenes for flavor.

This wine is ideal for people who love earthy or grassy tones. If you’ve never tasted anything with hemp terpenes, the flavor almost can’t be described.

There’s definitely a market of wine flavor adventurers who could be interested in this kind of drink.

The addition of the hemp in wine adds flavor and creates a smooth finish. Due to the fact that hemp has no THC, the result is a nutrient-packed wine that is enjoyable to drink. Plus, it offers the added benefits of hemp.

These days, you can find hemp in a wide range of products including clothes, food, building materials, textiles, and fuels. So it’s no wonder people now use it in wine.

Who makes it?

Right now, there are only a couple of places where you can get this green and red drink. If you live in New York state, you can go try a few varieties at the Sovereign Vines winery.

Sovereign Vines has been in business making hemp wine since 1999. You can also find some of their bottles in stores and restaurants across NY.

If you live in the California Bay Area, you can sample some green vino from CannaVines. This company uses terpenes and CBD in their products.

However, this is only available to people participating in the Bay Area Cannabis Tour. CannaVines does say that they will start to sell their wines online soon. When that will be is up for debate.

Since federal regulations on hemp are relaxing, we might expect more people to start making hemp wines.

Are there any benefits?

People have known about the benefits of hemp for generations. The plant is sustainable and promotes good health. That’s a two-for-one deal.

Hemp is easy to grow and doesn’t need much water. While some use the stalks for industrial applications or clothing, others use the oil from the seeds for cosmetics and food.

Hemp seed oil contains antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids. All of these are necessary for your health. Now, how much of this gets into your glass of wine depends on the winemaker.

Due to the fact that the hemp is easy to access and is available across the USA, it is easy to source and has been used for centuries in a wide range of purposes.

The oil is easy to cultivate and sustainable, which means there is no chance it will run out. Cultivating hemp also removes CO2 from the atmosphere, which is awesome.

If you’re looking for a twist on your standard glass of vino, why not tap into the healthy and enjoyable benefits of wine infused with hemp oil next time you reach for a glass.

The market is in its infancy right now. Just a few makers have begun to create this product in the US and in Europe. But as time goes on, it will probably become available to more people.

Last updated: May 17, 2020 Posted in: Food & Drink

Do you love the idea of combining your love of wine with your passion for hemp? A fine hemp wine could be the answer to your desires!

Hemp Wine Returns To New York State

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Hemp Infused Cayuga White

Courtesy Sovereign Vines

In 1997, after learning there was no official policy against hemp wine in America, Jim Castetter, of Binghamton, New York started Hemp Wine America. In 1999 he received a federal permit to produce and sell hemp-infused wine under the brand “Nirvana Homebrews: Hemp N Wine.” He sourced the hemp oil from a supplier in the Netherlands.

Back then, I had interviewed Castetter for my column in the Elmira, New York Star Gazette newspaper. He was excited by the quick positive response to his products. But soon the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), then known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), reversed course. His labels, as well as the hemp-infusion formula, were denied. As fast as it had gotten its start, Hemp Wine America was out of business.

About his experience 20 years ago Castetter says, “After launching with such promise and excitement it was very difficult to walk away…but now my son [Kaelan] and I have gone on the hemp-infused wine journey once again. It’s a totally different regulatory and public opinion environment for hemp now as compared to the 1990s.”

Hemp oils and extracts have been legal products in the U.S. since the February 2004 Ninth Circuit Court decision in HIA v. DEA , as long as there is no high-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the product. According to the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), “The mere presence of [non high-inducing] cannabinoids (CBD) is not itself dispositive as to whether a substance is within the scope of the Controlled Substances Act.”

In other words, DEA does not consider CBD oils illegal on their face. DEA leaves it to the states to decide whether or not hemp infusions are ok with them. At last count, 41 states have legalized hemp, but with individual provisions. For instance, in the largest wine-producing state, California, law AB 2914 prohibits either cannabis or hemp-derived products from being infused into alcoholic beverages.

Jim & Kaelan Castetter

Courtesy Sovereign Vines

Luckily, for the Castetter family, New York State has no such prohibition, provided there’s no THC in the extract. Kaelan says, “We have brand label approval from the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) to sell our hemp infused wine within the state.”

SLA granted the Castetters a permit in 2017 to operate Sovereign Vines (SV) in Johnson City, a once major shoe manufacturing hub near Binghamton, New York. Since then, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has supported a $10 million plan to kick off the state’s hemp industry.

Also in 2017, TTB once again denied the Castetter’s hemp wine label and formula approval, stating that hemp is a controlled substance. T he Castetters claim the hemp extracts they use contain neither THC nor CBD. Counting on the Ninth Circuit decision, and on the federal Farm Bill of December 2018 which stated hemp derivatives may not be considered a controlled substance, they have re-applied for a federal permit to produce and sell their hemp infused wine nationally.

According to the SV website, Sovereign Vines’ wines are the first New York State hemp-infused alcohol products, and Kaelan says, “The hemp extract in our current wines is sourced from Bluebird Botanicals in Colorado, and from our own network of hemp farms across New York State.

SV’s hemp infusions are largely made up of aromatic terpines derived from the plant. Terpines are also found in wine grape varieties like those in the Muscat family. Kaelan specializes in hemp public policy analysis, compliance and brand development for the company. He says the terpines, “…create earthy, woodsy tones and a smooth finish…It makes the wines pop.” He believes Cayuga White, a Cornell University-developed hybrid with a long bloodline that includes Zinfandel, is the best local showcase for the hemp aromas and flavors, “…like the experience you get when you walk into a forest.”

The grapes for SV’s hemp infused Cayuga White are supplied by Glenora Wine Cellars, a Finger Lakes winery at Seneca Lake. Other wines in the SV portfolio include Harvest Red as well as a sweet and a dry Rosé, from product sourced in California. SV’s 2,000 and 3,000 gallons of wine annually can be sold only within New York State. The hemp infusions are classified in New York as a separate product from wine but they are sold in licensed alcohol retail stores and at local farmers markets. wine-searcher prices SV wines at $12/bottle.

Kaelan says, “…we fully intend to expand nationally, globally, and develop an amazing tasting room experience here in Upstate New York.”

The tasting room opens in the 2019 summer in the scenic Finger Lakes vacation spot, Skaneateles Lake. National and global expansion will have to wait for a change in TTB policy.

Hemp-infused wine gets a second life in New York while the federal permit agency drags its feet over hemp’s legality.