Making weed-infused wine is a fairly easy process and is actually an ancient craft. Wines from the Biblical period, for example, were always infused or fortified with additional herbs and additives and cannabis was just one of many herbs utilized in that process. This process is also known as “mulling.” In the United States, this is less common, but in Europe, mulled wine is still a common if seasonal drink throughout the continent.
What can you expect from infusing wine with weed? The combination of different terpenes in both grapes and cannabinoids as well as other mulled herbs or fruit, can create a bouquet and aroma that is truly distinct. Alcohol can also increase the impact of THC by up to 50%.
So why not experiment?
This concept actually goes back to ancient times, around 2nd century BCE during the Eastern Han Dynasty. A surgeon named Hua Tuo (or Hua-t’o) thought it would be a splendid idea to add some cannabis resin to wine. Soon, it became common practice among ancient Greeks and Christians during some of their rituals.
In modern times, a few handfuls of winemakers from sunny California have already been adapting this method of consumption, even before medical cannabis was legalized in the state in 1996.
There are several ways to approach the idea of making cannabis wine. The first is to fortify wine (infuse it). This is by far the easiest way to do this. However, for the more adventurous, there is another option. It is possible to actually make grape free, cannabis wine.
This is a great recipe for holidays, and special occasions with friends. Even better, it is relatively easy to make.
What you will need:
- 28 grams of trim (leaves and stalk)
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 4 cloves
- 1 orange
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Large crock pot or saucepan
- Sieve or cheesecloth
This is super easy. Pour the wine into the pot, place on the stove. Add spices, cannabis and fruit to taste and preference. These spices can all be swapped out for others. However this recipe will bring out and enhance several elements of both the wine and the cannabis. Vitamin C and citrus fruit also appear to add to the impact of the so-called cannabis Entourage Effect.
The process of boiling everything together will decarboxylate the cannabis.
Boil the mixture at a slow gentle roil for two hours. You will also need to check this frequently to make sure that the liquid does not evaporate too much. Then just strain the wine and serve. Be aware that the result might be stronger than you expected, so be careful.
Recipe 2: Cannabis wine
This more in-depth recipe is for making wine from cannabis, not fortifying a grape wine with it.
2x 5 litre brewing demijohns
A brewing airlock
A 1 meter siphoning tube
Air tight bottles
Optional: A hydrometer
At least 120 grams of cannabis trim (the more the better)
1.4 KG of white sugar
1 fresh yeast cake (not dry yeast) or wine yeast
1. Cut/grind up your cannabis trim and place it all into one of your demijohns.
2. Juice your fruit and pour it into the demijohn along with the cannabis.
3. Pour 3.5 litres of water into a large, non-aluminium, cooking pot and bring it to boil.
4. Dissolve all of your sugar into the water.
5. Pour the water into your demijohn, cover the top, and shake it up to mix everything together.
6. In a separate jug, use some warm water (around 20 degrees Celsius) to dissolve the yeast cake.
Note: For yeast to thrive, a temperature of between 15-25 degrees Celsius must be maintained. Any lower and it may not ferment, any higher and it may die.
7. Check the temperature of the water in the demijohn. Once it has cooled to a safe enough temperature for yeast (see above), pour in the yeast mixture.
8. Cover the demijohn and shake it up again.
9. Pour in some more warm water to bring the mixture level close to the top (but not right to the top).
10. Place the demijohn into a warm, dark place, such as an airing cupboard or closet. The important thing is for a healthy temperature to be maintained for the yeast, and a lack of light.
11. After a short time, you should start to see fizzing/bubbling. This is the yeast fermenting the mixture, turning it into alcohol. After a day or so, once the yeast has really got going, place the airlock on the demijohn to cap it. Air locks often require a little water to be put in them, so refer to your airlocks instructions to ensure it has been properly put in place. This will prevent any more oxygen getting in, whilst allowing the excess carbon dioxide produced by the yeast to escape. It will prevent your cannabis wine turning into a cannabis vinegar!
12. The fermentation process can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks. You will know when it is done when the mixture completely stops bubbling. This means the yeast has done its job. During this time, check the mixture every couple of days, taking the airlock out and pushing any trimming that has risen back down into the mix using a sterilised wooden spoon. You can also take this opportunity to use a hydrometer to test the gravity of the wine, if you have one – it will give you an idea of the alcohol content. Never shake the mixture once it has begun fermenting.
Once the fermentation is complete, it is time to siphon the mixture to get it ready for bottling.
Siphoning, Bottling, and Storing:
1. Take you demijohn out of its cupboard, and carefully take it to an area where you can work, (try not to disturb the sediment too much).
2. Using your siphon tube, carefully siphon your cannabis wine from the demijohn, through your muslin, and into your second demijohn. Don’t worry if the mixture is cloudy, this will settle with time. The muslin should catch any larger pieces of trim or sediment that may get siphoned.
3. Put the airlock into the new demijohn, and return it to a dark place. Leave it undisturbed for one month. This will give it plenty of time to settle and continue ageing.
3. Once a month has passed, your cannabis wine should be ready for bottling. Prepare your bottles by sterilising the inside of them with hot water (at least 60 degrees Celsius).
4. Very carefully take your demijohn back to an area where you can work. You should see a dark layer of sediment at the bottom. Be careful not to disturb this. If you do, leave your demijohn in your work area for an hour or so, until the sediment has resettled.
5. Remove the airlock and carefully place your siphoning tube into the wine. You want to have the end of it about 2cm above the sediment.
6. Carefully siphon your cannabis wine through your muslin into your bottles.
7. Seal the bottles, either using an inbuilt air tight seal (such as seen with glass bottles), or some melted wax over the stopper.
8. Although the wine is now ready to drink, you should strongly consider aging it in a dark place for a further 6 months. It may taste odd otherwise.
9. You may notice a bit of sediment still forming in your bottles. Not to worry if this is the case, just make sure to decant the wine properly into another container before you drink it.
There you have it, you now have some homemade cannabis wine! It should induce a gentle, yet sweeping buzz, to help you chill and relax with loved ones and friends. The buzz is gentle because the cannabis has not been decarboxylated, meaning the THC has not been fully activated. That is why so much trim is required to induce this mild stone. You can try decarboxylation some cannabis before using it in this recipe if you want it to be stronger, but we have not tried this, and are not sure how well, or if it will work. If you are up for experimentation, it may be worth trying alongside this non-decarboxylated version, so you can compare the two. Good luck and happy buzzing!