Enter Herbacée, a floral and feminine weed wine brand which will enter the California marketplace beginning Fall 2021. The woman who wrote the book on cannabis drinks, CEO and Co-Founder of Herbacée Jamie Evans, has announced the launch of the Central Coast wine blend made in partnership with House Ethereal and Vertosa cannabis. Evans is a Certified Specialist of Wine and Herb Sommelier and even earned her French Wine Scholar certification in 2021. Evans is also the Founder of a cannabis lifestyle blog The Herb Somm and two-time author penning The Ultimate Guide to CBD and Cannabis Drinks.
“Cannabis drinks are a fantastic alternative to alcohol,” says Evans. “In the next five years, I predict market trends will show even a greater amount of consumers seeking alternatives to alcoholic beverages for health reasons.”
Its name translates to “herbaceous” in French. Herbacée will launch with a Sparkling Rose, a “South of France”-inspired blend made primarily from Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. While the blend is French-inspired, the grapes are cultivated in California’s Central Coast to start. It will be initially available in single serve cans and four-packs beginning this fall. Herbacée next plans to release Herbacée Sparkling Blanc in spring 2022. The product rollout will include cannabis-infused wines and other wine-based elixirs available in both 750ml bottles and cans.
I spoke with Evans about all things weed and wine, what the cannabis industry can expect to evolve into in 5 years, and her experience receiving intricate certification while studying wine across the world.
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Congrats on the launch of Herbacée. The brand is stunning, tell me: what was your inspiration for the colorful, flowery design on the cans and bottles?
Jamie Evans: The inspiration behind Herbacée’s flowers and colorful packaging came from the desire to celebrate Mother Nature’s bounty, including the plants, flowers, and herbs that provide us with so many different healing properties. As a nonalcoholic cannabis-infused wine, Herbacée (meaning “Herbaceous” in French) also explores the divine connection between cannabis and the grapevine. Because both of these plants are terpene-rich and offer a wide array of botanical aromas and flavors, my team and I wanted to bring this concept to life in order to inspire the senses.
I see you’re using Central Coast California wine, starting the brand true to your roots. What other countries’ wine, when you’re able to, are you planning to import and use for Herbacée blends in the future? What countries do you have your sights set on the most?
Staying true to my wine roots, it is an honor to launch Herbacée using a rosé blend sourced from the Central Coast of California—the region where I studied Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I also had the opportunity to study in Australia, Italy, Switzerland, and France. While abroad, I fell in love with international imports, particularly French wines, which carried over to my wine career. After working in the wine industry for over a decade and earning my Certified Specialist of Wine certification, I knew I wanted to dig deeper into France, so I recently pursued the Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine Scholar certification.
As a passionate French-wine enthusiast, I would love to include a series of French blends as the base for Herbacée products, sourced from regions such as Bordeaux, Rhône, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Champagne, and Loire. But until import restrictions related to COVID-19 are repealed, I plan to showcase unique French-inspired wine blends from California to continue to elevate the cannabis beverage category. Our first “South of France” inspired rosé blend is made primarily from Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault.
Do you taste the terpenes or cannabis flavors of the Vertosa cannabis in the wine blends?
The emulsions that I’ll be using with Vertosa are very neutral, allowing a curated melody of aromas and flavors to shine through. However, you’re not going to “taste” the cannabis. My goal with Herbacée is to perfectly balance the essences of cannabis and wine. Similar to traditional wine, you’ll be able to pick out different fruit, floral, spice, and earth notes on the nose and palate, but you’ll also perceive acidity, which is a key component to crafting a pleasurable drink.
While it’s difficult to provide the exact same experience that we get from drinking a glass of wine, cannabis-infused wines are unique on their own. You can think of these drinks as a new style of beverage that we’re just beginning to master, and the science is only getting better as time goes on!
Congrats on your Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine Scholar certification. Is there a cannabis industry equivalent to the stringent process of this certification? Should there be, what can cannabis take from the alcohol world’s processes?
If you’re looking to take your cannabis education to the next level, I highly recommend The Trichome Institute. Since launching The Herb Somm, I’ve worked with the founder, Max Montrose, on a few different projects. I greatly admire his work and the immersive “Interpening” program the Trichome Institute has put together. While the French Wine Scholar certification is strictly dedicated to France’s wine regions, Interpening reminds me more of a traditional wine sommelier program. You will learn the evolution of global cannabis speciation, what to properly call thousands of cultivars, cannabis history, terminology, how to identify cannabis quality, and so much more. Just like wine, cannabis is incredibly complex, so I firmly believe in these types of educational programs. Education is also the key to breaking the stigma, so I hope to see more programs evolve as cannabis research continues.
This can be as ideological as you want: Where do you see the cannabis industry in the U.S. in 5 years?
Since launching The Herb Somm back in 2017, so many things have changed in the cannabis space. While it’s hard to predict where we’ll be in five years, from a cannabis drinks point of view, I believe the future is bright! While this category is still nascent, over the past few years we’ve made some incredible strides forward. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we can now produce shelf-stable products that maximize bioavailability, clarity, and taste, which only continues to improve.
In addition, cannabis drinks are a fantastic alternative to alcohol. In the next five years, I predict market trends will show even a greater amount of consumers seeking alternatives to alcoholic beverages for health reasons. If these trends continue, be sure to keep an eye on the cannabis beverage category. It will be booming!