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How to Mix CBD & Wine, According to a Sommelier-Turned-Cannapreneur

How to Mix CBD & Wine, According to a Sommelier-Turned-Cannapreneur

by Danielle Cheesman (@daniellesaid)

As a fine-dining pastry chef and certified sommelier, Jewel Zimmer spent years creating and curating experiences for others through quality ingredients, potent tastes and extreme nuance.

(And she did so in the kitchens of renowned restaurants like San Francisco's La Folie.)

So it should come as no surprise that she applied that same insight and approach to launching Juna, her organic, California-crafted, single-origin CBD collection that was established with the goal of creating the most effective, consistent, and epicurean edibles in the world.

Here, we talk to Zimmer about mixing CBD and wine, how she combined her expertise, and why Juna was specifically formulated to taste good.


You started in the fine dining business. How did you get into the CBD industry?

Long story short, I left the fine dining world after my oldest daughter was born, and launched a chocolate company called {cocoa} absolute. The motive of this transition was so that I would have more flexible hours as I entered this unchartered territory of mothering. And with {cocoa} absolute, which was a collection of artisan single-origin chocolate from all over the world, the idea was to showcase how the terroir affected flavor, and to also accentuate the therapeutic and experiential benefits one could get from the cacao bean itself. [Using] a play on “beauty from within,” we were extracting all of the naturally-occurring polyphenol antioxidants and mood enhancers such as anandamide (the "bliss" molecule, and also a cannabinoid) from the cacao bean and de-infusing [them] back into the chocolate.

So my continual search for food for functional health and beauty continued to grow, and about five years ago, in 2015, a series of conversations from over the previous years led me to find and develop a relationship with a non-intoxicating part of the cannabis plant: CBD. When I heard this compound had the ability to decrease stress and anxiety, was a powerful neuroprotectant, and a potential hormone/endocrine stabilizer, I was sure it would save every women and especially mothers in America!

Do you find that there are similarities between wine and CBD? How about when it comes to production quality?

Absolutely! Source and farming are paramount for quality and flavor. I source our hemp CBD the same way I source any ingredient. I look for organic or biodynamic farming practices, permaculture, or companion planting techniques because all [of] these add to the potency and nutrient-rich quality; they share nutrients from one plant and its soil to the other, and really fortify one another. It was after becoming so immersed in sourcing chocolate, and how the difference in terroir influenced the flavor and therapeutic content, that I started to really explore and study wine. CBD coming from hemp and cannabis are no different.


How to Mix CBD & Wine, According to a Sommelier-Turned-Cannapreneur How to Mix CBD & Wine, According to a Sommelier-Turned-Cannapreneur

Have you been able to bring any learnings from your time as a sommelier to Juna?

Yes! Taste is so important. And different varieties and strains of hemp, and how and where they are grown affect flavor, just like wine. When using CBD as a tincture—which is Juna’s preferred way to ingest—taste is important whether you are placing it under your tongue or in a beverage. From coffee to wine, we hope to accentuate or blend the flavor versus compromising it. It’s also important to note that we transport the naturally-occurring terpenes (the flavor, aroma and mood molecules) found in the hemp plant from flower to extract, resulting in a full spectrum extract. Extraction is also very important; we use CO extraction which is solvent-less and doesn’t leave an alcohol residue or bitter taste.

Let's get to it! Is it safe to mix CBD and wine? Are there any negative side effects—or potential benefits—to mixing the two?

I will say this, alcohol of any kind can produce inflammation in the body and CBD can behave as an anti-inflammatory so, in theory, CBD should be a great “hangover” preventative. In higher doses, CBD has been known to make some people tired and the reality is that if you’re using CBD to unwind vs. using it medically, you shouldn’t need a lot.

Do either become more or less effective when combined together?

I have read various studies on this. I have read that if you use cannabis before you consume alcohol, it can actually lower your blood alcohol level and curb the craving to drink as much. And that if you consume cannabis after you consume alcohol, it can raise blood alcohol level. That’s cannabis in general, but I’m not sure about CBD-specific. As with anything, understand how CBD works in your body.



How to Mix CBD & Wine, According to a Sommelier-Turned-Cannapreneur How to Mix CBD & Wine, According to a Sommelier-Turned-Cannapreneur

What are your thoughts on consuming CBD-infused (or -aromatised) wine that's already bottled vs. dosing your wine yourself?

Well, when you buy any beverage that’s already infused it’s most likely water-soluble CBD, which means it’s undergone a process in which the oil is converted essentially to dissolve, so [it's] more processed and can sometimes leave a bitter taste. I actually didn’t know there was CBD wine you could buy pre-packaged. Pros, you just need to open and serve. Cons, you can't adjust taste, sweetness or dose. I personally like to dose myself, so I can control not only the CBD dosage but the actual beverage. Depending on the time of day, I like to drink different things, from dosing my morning coffee or green juice, to my tea in the evening.

If one wants to mix CBD and wine, what type of CBD would you recommend?

Find a full spectrum extract, and one that tastes good. Anything around 10mg per dose—which I think is a functional wellness dose—and is in a carrier oil of MCT; coconut is the best. CBD that’s been infused in olive oil or hemp oil is usually too strong in flavor and too thick in consistency to blend in nicely. Look for water-soluble options, just be sure to ask about the taste first if you plan to blend it with anything else or if flavor is important to you. Juna blends are specifically formulated for functional results that taste great! (And through the lens of a chef and sommelier, this is paramount.)

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