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pot and wineI keep coming across stories in which people in the wine industry are worried about the effect legal pot will have on wine sales. This article in Wine Searcher summarizes the very thin data available on the topic thus far:

Anecdotal evidence from a handful of sources I spoke to in Colorado implied that wine sales seemed to be on the rise since weed was legally first sold in 2014. It seems to be a bit of the “Amsterdam affect”, with visitors indulging in both a pre-dinner smoke and some nice wine during their meal.

According to the Washington, DC-based Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) analysis of government data, the evidence is inconclusive. “If we compare 2011, the year before voting in either state [Colorado and Washington], to 2014 the last year for which complete National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism data is available, per capita consumption of wine is up 1.74 percent in Colorado and down 0.5 percent in Washington State. This compares to the US average,” of an increase of 1.17 percent, according to a DISCUS analysis cited by David Ozgo, the group’s chief economist.

The marketing director for Duckhorn Vineyards said:

“Being able to toast life’s special milestones and enjoy wine with great friends and a terrific meal is quite different from the marijuana experience.”

True, but what’s the matter with both? One beverage director in Aspen noted:

“…the quantity of wine ordered may be lesser and of better quality as discerning guests who smoked at home might drink less wine when they are out.”

Bingo! If you like wine with complexity and finesse a little sensory enhancement is just what you want. And why waste a good joint on a bad bottle? I’m sure there’s a marketing department somewhere ready with a line of Sativa Syrah and Purple Power Pinot.

The wine industry is justifiably anxious about labor supply issues and climate change. I wouldn’t worry about legal pot.

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