Great Event To Explore How Wine Plans to Help Weed Take Its Marketshare

The Second Annual Weed and Wine Symposium is only two months away. If it is anything like the inaugural event, it should be fascinating. The tagline for the coming Symposium is: “Exploring the Opportunities & Issues that the Legalization of Cannabis Presents to the California Wine Industry”.

I should go on the record that I believe the opportunities are few and the main issue is, how can the wine industry minimize the negative impact that cannabis legalization will have on wine sales?

Dr. Bill Silver of CannaCraft will be the Keynote Speaker. In the description of his coming talk we get this:

“The legalization of recreational cannabis use will undoubtedly have an impact on the wine industry, but how? In what ways might the two industries work together, and where could conflicts arise? Can the two industries learn for each other and establish a dialogue?”

Any learn’in that’s going to happen will surely be done by the cannabis side of the equation. I don’t think that the cannabis industry is going to show wine how to attract people to wine country. I don’t think it will teach wine folks how to give good hospitality. I don’t think it will show wine people how to deal with over consumption. I don’t think cannabis is going to teach wine how to sell direct. All that is what cannabis is going to learn from wine. My question is this: If the wine industry isn’t sitting down with the local beer and spirits industry and teaching them how to pilfer its customers, why would wine do this for Cannabis?

At this point, anyone who doesn’t believe that Cannabis is going to scrape away customers from wine simply hasn’t been reading the reports. Everywhere cannabis has been legalize for medicinal or recreational use, alcohol sales decline or slow down. And though this research has not been done or published, it seems likely that it will be low to mid priced wines that are hardest hit.

But consider the 30-year old Texan couple with no kids and a good upper middle class income that wants to take a vacation to what used to be “wine country” but is now “wine and weed country”. At one time they may have spent their five days and $5,000 of disposable income on wine and wine experiences. But, hey…what about that cannabis tour? “Let’s go up to Mendocino and do it.” Now it’s less time spent on wine tourism and less money spent on wine.

Why is the wine industry looking to find ways to teach and collaborate with the Cannabis industry?

And on this topic, one of the issues that will be covered are Wine and Weed Events. That should be fascinating. Rebecca Stamey-White, partner at the Hinman & Carmichael law firm will be among the speakers on this topic. She is a brilliant wine and weed counselor and should provide just the right amount of legal mojo to explain that weed and wine event may not be as easy to produce as some hope.

The Symposium is filled with interesting topics and will amount to a full day. When I attended last year I asked many of the participants what they thought of the notion that weed is a full throttle competitor to wine. I don’t remember any that agreed. Clearly the folks I spoke with were invested in one way or another in the cannabis industry and saw no value in endorsing the notion that cannabis is coming for wine. But it is. When I spoke to a few of the journalists in the room, their analysis was that weed will absolutely be a competitor to wine. It will be interesting to see what the participants in the event have to say this year.

Also, let me say that the organizers of the event, Wine Industry Network, have built a really wonderful website to promote the Weed and Wine Symposium. I look at a lot of event websites and this one is very intuitive and stuffed with useful information. It’s no wonder the event is run so well.

This is an event I hope to go to again. I’m not open to having my mind changed about the nature of the threat that cannabis poses to the wine industry. But I’m certainly open to learning how a new, vibrant industry with nothing but upside at this point is planning to attack the market, planning to address those it plans to take market share from, and is planning new and innovative ways to address consumer needs.

Tickets to the August 2 Wine & Weed Symposium are still only $250 and can be obtained here.


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