If, sometime in the new year, a dinner guest arrives at your home and presents you with a hostess gift of cannabis flower — a jar of Kosher Kush indica to be specific — what bottle of wine might you serve it with? If you’d attended a recent wine and cannabis pairing dinner at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, you might confidently uncork a Syrah or a Pinot Noir because those varietals have an earthy aroma that plays nicely with the terpene myrcene that’s dominant in that particular strain.
Under the tutelage of Jamie Evans (a.k.a. the Herb Somm, as in “sommelier”), guests sniffed their way around Strawberry Banana hybrid strains (that fit thematically with the fruity aroma of a Central Coast rosé). They also sniffed jars of THC Designs’ XJ-13 sativa to discover that the terpene limonene makes it appropriate to pair withan Outer Sounds Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. (Though the cannabis was certainly being enthusiastically sniffed, it was not being consumed; that would run afoul of the host restaurant’s liquor license.)
The Dec. 5 media dinner was organized by San Francisco-based technology-meets-cannabis delivery platform Eaze, whose chief executive, Jim Patterson, called the run-up to legal adult-use (non-medical) sales of cannabis products in California, slated to begin in January, “a pretty historic moment.”
“Cannabis prohibition is coming to an end,” he told guests, “and it is becoming a very mainstream thing. The beautifully packaged products you see in front of you probably aren’t what people think about when they think of marijuana. … How do we educate the public? How do we elevate everyone’s thinking about this plant?”
Although Patterson’s app isn’t yet operating in Los Angeles, the company recently opened an office here, and he recruited folks from the stable of local brands Eaze works with to hold forth on a variety of topics over the course of the evening. THC Design’s co-founder, Ryan Jennemann, for example, took a deep dive explaining sativa / indica hybrids (losing me somewhere around the mention of endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2), and Marigold Sweets’ founder and confiseuse Vanessa Lavorato touched on, among other things, what it’s like to be a woman in the “wild, wild west” that is the current state of the cannabis industry.
After dinner, guests mingled and chatted about what the future of cannabis might look like in California next year while sipping on cocktails made with hemp-derived CBD (one of the cannabis plant’s non-psychoactive compounds touted for its medicinal properties) and with names such as the Stoney Negroni and the Rolled Fashion.
I’m not completely sure what entertaining in L.A. will look like when California’s grand experiment in legal cannabis consumption gets fully underway next year. But, thanks to Eaze and the the Herb Somm, if it involves pairing pot with potables, we’re pretty confident we’ll know which bottle to pop.
For more musings on cannabis commerce and culture, follow me at @ARTschorn.