Wine, Dope, CNBC, Critics and My 30 Seconds of Fame

This was lots of fun. It’s always nice to obtain your 30 seconds of fame.

However, the discussion of the similarities between wine and marijuana discussed in this CNBC segment to which I was asked to contribute (see 40 seconds in..) raises a lot of questions. The most interesting issue raised is that of “Dope Critics”.

Were it legal to buy and sell Marijuana in California, would a crop of “marijuana critics” rise up and flood us with their opinions? Of course they would. And though I haven’t looked, I’d be willing to bet that the very best URLs for this purpose have already been snagged.

And if it’s legal, why shouldn’t dope be poked and prodded and critiqued just like wines?

But what I think will be the primary difference between wine reviews and pot review will be the inclusion of the character of the high that will be presented in the latter. It seems to me reviewing a 2011.5 vintage of Humboldt Indica without characterizing the high it produces is akin to reviewing a Cabernet without mentioning its body, flavors or aroma. In fact, if you want a preview of what the explosion of reviews of marijuana might sound like if it is legalized in California, take a look at these critiques from

From: Private Dealer

Grade: A+

Type: Indica

Price: $65/8th

Looks: Medium green, with lots of small crystal covered leaves and orange/red hairs.
Smell: Fresh lemon zest strong scent.

Taste: Exactly how it smells…fresh with no unpleasant aftertaste.  Tastes like Lemons all the way to the end of the joint.

Buzz Type: You had better be sitting down to enjoy this.  It has a quick couch lock that is pure relaxation after a couple drags.

Buzz Length: Very Long. 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Overall: Love this strain so much I added it to the
garden.  It’s is definitely worth seeking out if you enjoy your eyes
closing quickly.
The only drawback to this was the slightly harsh smoke.  I coughed
my ass off after the first drag and the second and the third.  But
after that I was so tore up it didn’t matter. 

The buds are sticky as hell, had to wash my hands after breaking up
the bud to keep the rolling paper from sticking to my fingers.  The
smoke was heavily scented. 

This is definitely one of the best I’ve found in a long time.


From: Reseda Discount Caregivers

Grade: A

Type: Indica

Price: $20/G, $60/8th 425/oz

Looks: Big nice juicy buds that have some orange
hairs.  After breaking up the buds they have a nice fuzz of trichomes
covering the whole inside of it.

Smell: Sweet with a nice citrus woodsy floral smell
– the only way I can describe it.  The smell is not too over powering
but very nice none the less.

Taste: It tasted sweet leaving your mouth with a slight musky floral after taste.  Smooth smoke. 
The smoke barely made me cough through a small bong…and I do not have the greatest lungs.

Buzz Type: Creeper. It took about 20 minutes for it to fully kick in.  When I exhaled I felt a mellowing sense which I expected. 
The buzz kept going making my body feel like it was floating and would receive little jolts of butterflies
kind of like a mini bump that gets your stomach in a car.

Buzz Length: Long. About 2 and a half hours which was led by at least 20 minutes of creep time.

Overall: One of my new favorites that had me
feeling like it was one of the first times I had been high.  The
comedown is so easy and almost non-existent.
My only hesitation to giving it an A+ is the fact I don’t know what an A+ is yet.  Hopefully one bowl will let me know – till then I am on a mission!!!


So, why isn’t wine evaluated for the buzz in produces? I’m not a chemist, so I don’t know if the same level of alcohol from a Cabernet induces the same buzz as identical levels of alcohol in a Chardonnay. But now that I think about it I’d like to know. For that matter, is it possible for the buzz produced by a wine varies based on where it was grown, as well as on the varietal? Now that I think about it, I’d like to know.

10 Responses

  1. Thomas Pellechia - January 15, 2010

    Buzz from wine? What buzz? Maybe I need more than a bottle a night.

  2. winehiker - January 15, 2010

    Tom, perhaps the reason reviewers don’t characterize a wine buzz is because marijuana is simply more cerebral than alcohol – well, except perhaps for that couch-lock stuff. Not that I would know anything about controlling controlled substances. (Read it somewhere. Of course.)
    Hmmm…I believe I’m beginning to understand why you’ve been so prolific with your posts. 🙂
    Kudos on your CNBC segment!

  3. Benito - January 15, 2010

    And oddly, when newspapers are firing their wine writers, one alt-weekly in Colorado is hiring a marijuana reviewer:

  4. Chicago Pinot - January 15, 2010

    Now, if the Robert Parker that will inevitably emerge from marijuana reviews will one day declare that he just can’t remember how many of his samples were donated as opposed to actually bought with his own budget . . . well, I might actually believe that!

  5. James - January 15, 2010

    There’s been a Craigslist ad running in Santa Fe for some time looking for an approved medical marijuana user to write reviews. All I can say is that it would have been impossible to swallow all the wine I tasted as Drinks Editor at Gourmet (without serious consequences). And I will not be applying for the pot reviewer position.

  6. Ned - January 15, 2010

    I usually try to be collegial in blog comments, but here I have to say that Larry of CNBC is an idiot. He does not have even a tiny shred of informed expertise on the subject. Yet another example of someone who does not know what the hell they are talking about getting to speak on national TV.
    THC and alcohol are consumed in forms that have many parallel aspects. Concentrated forms of cannabis resin (oils and hashish) have equivalency to distilled spirits. Dried cannabis flower has much in common with wine and beer.
    All forms of both “drugs” are consumed in ways that provide sensual pleasure and promote connoisseurship. That is also true with various forms of tobacco products. I think that the method or form of alcohol ingestion definitely gives differing experiences of effects. That is similar but not identical to cannabis. The reason for that is that not only does it contain THC but but also different varieties have different additional cannabinols that interact with each other and the THC to modulate or modify the total effect.
    Underground cannabis marketing has traditionally primarily promoted two aspects of the product. Quality overall and strength (“potency”). After that come a string of additional attributes. Overall quality had to do with freshness, condition, lack of
    faults, etc. Additional factors included, outdoor or indoor growing, type or strain,
    processing and so on.
    Tom, as to your closing query, the various forms of alcohol provide different effect experiences far more than different wines. Beers feel different from wines that feel different from ports that feel different from brandy or from tequila etc.

  7. Randy Fuller - January 16, 2010

    It may be that the high one gets from wine is not included in the review process because wine is consumed in such a way as to minimize the effect of the alcohol. Everyone knows how many glasses is “their limit.” Reviewers even spit out the tastes. Pot is consumed not so much for the sweet smell of the smoke but for the “couch-lock” it produces. Getting high is the sole reason for smoking a joint. If wine were to be reviewed in the manner of the examples of pot criticism you cite, Robert Parker might start sounding like Monty Python’s “Australian Table Wines” bit.

  8. 1WineDude - January 16, 2010

    So if you want a job as a reviewer, move to pot instead of wine…
    These are interesting times indeed!

  9. El Jefe - January 16, 2010

    A tequila buzz is definitely different from a wine buzz. I just want to know if a 90 point buzz is really any different than an 89 point buzz.

  10. Anticipating A Dopey Future At the SOMM Journal - Fermentation - June 24, 2015

    […] A few years ago I speculated that if and when legalized, marijuana would be marketed by some in exactly the way high-end wine is marketed: based on terroir. […]

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