The Wine Industry Network (WIN) hosted nearly 500 people to the first Wine & Weed Symposium on August 3rd at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa, CA. The one-day business focused conference was intended to create a dialogue between the wine and cannabis industries and examine the impact that the legalization of recreational cannabis use in California will have on the wine industry.
Of the day’s registered attendees, 45 percent were wine industry professionals, 26 percent were cannabis industry professionals, 18 percent have ties to both industries, and the remaining people in attendance were from other industries altogether. Polling the audience during the show, 77 percent of attendees predicted more collaboration than competition between the two industries.
Featuring experts from both categories, the day began with opening remarks from California Senator Mike McGuire who provided an overview of two of the state’s major agricultural crops, cannabis and wine, and how these industries will coexist. He also discussed the work that our leaders are doing to quickly provide legislation as the prohibition on cannabis ends.
In addition to the Senator, other notable cannabis leaders Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, and Tawnie Logan, chairwoman of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance and California Growers Association weighed in on a wide range of topics including regulations around licensing, hospitality, and mixed-use farming.
Attendees were also introduced to new economic opportunities not only from the varied line up of speakers, but also from the 40+ exhibiting companies from the wine and cannabis industries who displayed their products and services.
“Our goals were to educate the wine industry on the current state of legalization of cannabis and to establish a dialogue between the two industries,” said George Christie, President of Wine Industry Network. “We were successful on both fronts. Our wine industry attendees left with a greater understanding of the emerging cannabis industry and everyone that attended saw the opportunities that collaboration could mean to both.”