Can Marijuana Odors Affect Your Wine? Wine Industry Says Yes — And Fights to Keep Cannabis Cultivation Out of Napa Valley

Last week, in Napa County, wine industry representatives warned of the impending dangers of marijuana odor, High Times reports.


Napa, the heart of California’s renowned wine country, has been reluctant to allow commercial cannabis grows. And wine industry executives would like to keep it that way.


“You can have a cannabis grow an hour and a half away from a tasting room,” the CEO of the Napa County Farm Bureau explained, “and have clients at the tasting room smell the marijuana as if it’s growing right next to them.”


Tourism and tasting room ambiance aren’t the only reasons to worry about marijuana odors, the group explained.


They also cited concerns about how cannabis odors might affect nearby wine grapes, according to the Napa Valley Register.


It’s not the first time wine industry groups have made this argument about cannabis odors interacting with grapes.


In San Joaquin County, a different CEO told his county Board of Supervisors that grapes on the vine were vulnerable to degradation from cannabis odors wafting by.


“The odor travels,” he said. “It could permeate grape skins and render the wine deficient, causing it to lose value.”


While detecting notes of a cannabis-scented terroir at a wine tasting might sound like fun, it’s clearly no laughing matter for the wine industry.


Last month, hoping to defeat the new measure in Napa County, industry groups demanded a report about agricultural impacts of allowing cannabis in their county.


The report detailed how marijuana odors might affect wineries and tourism in the area.


Hoping to assuage these concerns, the proposed regulations that, if passed, would hold cannabis growers to strict limits — and hopefully keep all their wine-producing neighbors happy.


The proposed regulations, which are backed by cannabis industry groups, would limit the size of marijuana grow operations. They would also mandate setbacks between marijuana farming and vineyards.


Cannabis grow operations would be limited to one acre parcels. But even these limits did not appease everyone at the Napa County Board meeting.


“You lose control of the odor problem immediately,” Napa’s board chairman said, noting that acreage limits would do nothing to contain odors.


Facing these concerns and conflicting interests, the Board opted to put the initiative on the ballot. Local voters will decide the issue in March.


Cannabis industry leaders are thrilled.


“I’m happy we’re having a dialogue,” one proponent of the measure told the Board of Supervisors.


The wine industry is less happy about it.


If voters decide to allow cannabis cultivation in Napa Valley — and sommeliers suddenly detect notes of Purple Kush in their Chardonnay — you can bet this fight is just getting started.