Each year my baby boomer friend spends hours in front of the TV watching the NCAA college basketball tournament. He has his routine down pat and it is perfect. He plays hooky and binge watches the games from home all day, one after the other. During breaks he indulges himself by enjoying a beer and the available snacks in the kitchen. It is an annual celebration for him. This year something went wrong.
After a particularly exciting game he rose from the couch and collapsed. It was not a stumble or a fall; it was a collapse, the kind that requires a 911 call and an ambulance. He said, “It was like his body fell off the frame.” Friends and family were sure it was a severe stroke and we wondered what the recovery would entail.
Then, a miracle occurred. The very next day my friend was fully recovered. He had no symptoms of a stroke or any other problem. After a battery of tests and considerable poking and prodding, the doctors could find nothing wrong with him. Although it was an unsolved mystery, no one cared. He was released from the hospital. Prayers were answered and there was much rejoicing.
The medical mystery was solved a few days later. My friend’s millennial grandson asked a simple question, “Grandpa, when you were watching the games and snacking were you eating the little round goodies in the fridge?”
My happy friend who believed he had a new lease on life was enthusiastic and said, “Yes! They were great, I had a bunch, did you make them?”
Mystery solved. My friend had indulged in a bunch of edible marijuana. He collapsed because he was totally stoned. (There is a lesson here for all of us.) Apparently, the goodies were potent as well as tasty. My friend thought the snack was some kind of healthy vegan food because of the “earthy” taste.
Which brings me to all the recent headlines about pot in wine country. The story contends that some vineyards are considering ripping out grapevines in order to grow marijuana. The reasoning is that selling pot is more profitable and doesn’t require all the cellaring and bottling and fuss.
Pot has been grown in these parts for a long time. Up until now the cultivation of cannabis involved hidden camps, stealing water and trip wires attached to bombs. If discovered, the local pot harvest included helicopters, large bonfires and the media covering the story. Maybe those days are coming to an end.
Maybe someday soon we will be able to visit a winery and visit the marijuana part of the operation. As we tour maybe we will see the rows of vines next to the rows of pot plants. In the tasting rooms maybe we will be able to sample the wines with the pot products — with special places for the smokers. Investors are quick to point out the similarities between the two intoxicants. The climate and the land where it is grown drive the properties of both products. Both can make you feel good. Both have a snobby connoisseur class. To make matters even simpler, wine and pot can actually be combined into a brand new experience by fermenting the wine with the pot.
Like everyone else, I have no idea how the wine and pot relationship will all shake out. Movies are made about the romance of the wine industry and star Marion Cotillard. Movies about marijuana feature guns and bombs and star Bruce Willis. And Wine Country is known for many wonderful things but not for its willingness to change or its willingness to grant permits and licenses.
So let’s wait and see. In the meantime, ask what those earthy snacks are before you inhale.