Mixing cannabis and booze can have predictably awful results, but that just means you’re doing it wrong! Turns out, cannabis and wine are a pretty amazing pair. With those distinctive fragrances and flavors from their respective terpene profiles, cannabis and wine pairings are kind of perfect. The key is knowing what to pair with what, and we have three best practices to keep you on track.
STANDARD PAIRING GUIDELINES APPLY
If you’ve ever enjoyed a crisp white wine with a creamy chicken dish, you did it right. The wine’s acidity would have beautifully complemented the richness of all that cream, so the whole meal was nicely elevated. In other words, you found the right contrast between the wine and the food. The same logic applies if you’re pairing cannabis and wine. You need to find fragrances and flavors in a strain that will be enhanced by the notes of the wine. And if you don’t know how to do that, the terpene profile is a good place to start, so keep reading.
TRUST THE TERPENES
It’s the terpenes, those aromatic compounds in plants and flowers, that give respective plants and flowers their own flavors and fragrance. Both cannabis and wine have their own terpene blends, and the goal of a pairing is to enhance respective scents and tastes. So think about what you’re smelling and tasting. That’ll help you figure out which terpenes you really like, and which ones you don’t. Here’s a quick cheat sheet.
Myrcene has an earthy, skunky, herb-based profile that will pair well with many pinot noirs and syrahs. Limonene, that signature citrus profile, is bright and zesty and will be amazing with a bright chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Pinene is reminiscent of pine needles and rosemary, so try it with a pinot gris or a New Zealand sauvignon. Linalool is another common terpene that’s reminiscent of floral scents — think lavender and rose. It’ll work well with a nice riesling. See how this works? And pro tip — rosés seem to play nicely with everyone, so keep that in mind!
MAKE A GAME PLAN
Do your cannabis and wine pairing properly. Make a plan for the evening, so that you’re set up something comfortable and relaxed where you have the whole night to enjoy. And think this through. Generally, cannabis and wine are largely downers, so plan accordingly. If you’re looking for a bright, buzzy good time, pair a sativa or hybrid strain with something light. For a chiller, more relaxed vibe, an indica and a well-chosen red is a better option. Avoid tannin-rich wines, like heavy Italian reds, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or zinfandels, which will exacerbate dry mouth and generally don’t pair well with cannabis.
As always, you’ll need to be open minded and willing to dabble when you’re pairing wines and cannabis. That’s part of the fun, so don’t rush the process. Enjoy the experience, indulge in the dizzying mix of flavors and fragrances, and pace yourself.