Marketing Wine, Sex Toys and Cannabis — Differences and Similarities

What if wines were reviewed like cannabis strains?

2015 Fermentationblog Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Just looking at this beastly purple grog tells me I’m in for a sloshy night. It sports dense, heady blueberry aromas that beckon and the taste is not so different, but with a premonition of its potency. After a glass, I already felt the first jolt of its 14.5 alc. Two glasses and my eyes felt that familiar heaviness that comes of cab imbibing. After four glasses its fruity nose and flavors kept trucking along, but all I could do was feel the ethanol-fuzz in my head and I knew getting to the end of the bottle would get me to the end of my night. The ’15 Fermentationblog Cab can’t be recommended for a night of reading or heavy machinery work. But it’s the perfect imbibe for a few episodes of Seinfeld and dreamland.

The question occurred to me when I started looking at various marketing pieces for cannabis brands that had as their a basis specific kind of high the strain produces. Then I started looking over more recent reviews of various strains of cannabis.

Like wine, cannabis marketing for brands and strains will focus on place, purity, uniqueness, people, and quality. But unlike wine, cannabis marketing will immediately focus on inebriation—something wine has never done and will never do.

The nature of cannabis, with the variety of highs it can deliver, is the basis of this kind of inebriation-marketing. But also, the primary purpose of the substance also explains this.

For a wine marketer, inebriation-marketing is a bit jolting to see. It is so thoroughly out of the ordinary. The only thing I can think of comparing it to is the marketing surrounding sex toys, which also promises a particular kind of stimulation. But for both sex toys and cannabis, there really is no alternative but to market in this method.

The initial push to legalize medical marijuana has helped cure the weed of its association with stoners. And that connection to well-being has also helped marketers in their initial forays into legally promoting their products. But the medical use of marijuana was never the end game. It was the point of the spear that would carve out a place for legal recreational use. The connection to well-being will likely continue on with cannabis marketing. Wine marketers will also recognize this as something they can never indulge in…as a matter of law.

Wine and cannabis will both be considered sin products for some time to come. Our conception of right, wrong, good, bad and our spiritual heritage dictate this still, even as times and attitudes change. Cannabis, however, will quickly be marketed with an emphasis on the sin, while wine continues to avoid the connection.



5 Responses

  1. Bill McIver - September 13, 2017

    Hey, Tom! Good one. Excellent insight. In case I haven’t mentioned it, we’ve moved to Bainbridge Island WA and legal Cannabis. Hopefully, government learned from Repeal of Prohibition law that allowed the criminal bootleggers to control distribution and sales of booze/wine. Hopefully, they will make producers account for every bud, as the BATF requires strict accounting of wine made from grapes.

  2. Tom Wark - September 13, 2017

    Hi Bill…Thanks. Yes, you told me about Bainbridge. That’s lots of rain, isn’t it?? I think they are ok in CA, OR and WA. But they screwed up in NV and gave booze wholesalers first rights to be distributors. I warned them.

  3. katherine - September 14, 2017

    interesting perspective! I dont agree that cannabis will marketed with an emphasis on the sin. Most of what I have seen has been on the medicinal benefits, growing styles etc. I do believe there are many parallels between the two industries. Its too bad that the cannabis industry doesnt get the tax benefits that the alcohol industry receives. As someone in both industries, I believe that the cannabis can complement the wine business. It would be nice if the wine industry would work with the cannabis industry more, as I think they can definitely benefit.

  4. Tom Wark - September 14, 2017

    Hi Katherine…

    Cannabis is already marketed based on the kind of high (euphoric, speedy, lethargic, etc) it delivers. It happens on a regular basis. This is particularly the case when discussing differen strains.

    As for wine and cannabis working together and wine doing more, I can’t imagine what you would want the wine industry to do to work more closely with cannabis.

  5. Mark - September 14, 2017

    Just wanted to provide a link that would help journalist connect Wine and Weed for follow up stories. Check it. :

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