Wine and weed tourism could be on the horizon

Wine and weed tourism topic of panel discussion

BUELLTON, Calif. - A cannabis collective called Good Farmers Great Neighbors hosted a panel discussion to talk about combining wine and cannabis tourism in the future.

Attendance exceeded expectations.

Panelists included Former California Congressman Jeff Denham, Lompoc Mayor Janelle Osborne, Stephen Pepe of Clos Pepe Vineyards, Dan Fox of Private Reserve, Wes Hagan of J. Wilkes Wines, John De Friel of Raw Gardens, and Jennifer Zacharias of JZ Public Affairs.

Sara Rotman of the North County Farmers Guild served as moderator.

The industries have a couple of major concerns.

Steve Pepe said, "One is a concern about spray drift which is an issue that farmers have dealt with for hundreds of years."

Pepe said the other issue is the smell.

" We don't have enough science on whether the odor itself will impact grapes."

He said they grow vegetables near his vineyard and the smell has never hurt the wine.

A majority of the people in the audience applauded the idea of wine and weed tourism.

Andrew Rice with Good Farmers Great Neighbors said some people need to be convinced.  

"We are happy to do that, we are happy to talk to them, happy to consult science and come up with solutions."

Los Angeles based attorney Hilary Bricken agrees.

"I think it is an educational event where two industries seemingly at odds can come together and have some synergies because they are quite similar at the end of the day when it comes to ag and logistics and tourism so really the two should be able to play nice once they know each other."

It remains to be seen if it is the next big tourism trend.

Unless Federal law legalizes cannabis nationwide vineyard operators said they won't be able to add cannabis to the menu.

It could be an issue in the upcoming election.

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