With a blend of ingenuity and determination, a local winery is looking to put what it touts as Texas’ first hemp-infused wine onto store shelves, starting this week.
Texas Vineyard Market uses hemp oil, not just hemp flavoring, to infuse its wine.
“Hemp seed oil is good for so many things,” said Elease Hill, TVM vice president of sales and marketing. “People use it every day for their hair, skin, and nails.”
But in wine? That idea came when Ron Mittelstedt, chairman of TVM, was approached with the suggestion in 2015. A few years later, Hill joined the business, along with her younger sister Beth, and the two began researching ways to infuse the wine.
“The gentleman working with us to develop the product is brilliant,” Elease Hill said. “He has a Ph.D and knew how to help us with the formulation. The wine is citrus-based using orange. It’s easier to infuse the hemp; it melds together better.”
So instead of going the traditional route of wines, TVM — a family owned enterprise — chose to go with flavors like Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada, Rum and Cola, and Texas Tea that have a taste of hemp to finish them off. The names of the wines — Covert, Taboo, Fantasy, and Forbidden — are a nod to the past confusion over hemp. It will retail for $19.99 a bottle.
It took two years to get approval for the formulation. Previous efforts were rejected because of the DEA’s stringent oversight.
“It was a lot of work,” Hill said. “With the negative view from the Drug Enforcement Agency on cannabis plants, TVM had to submit multiple lab tests to show the wine met DEA requirements.”
Approval was given Dec. 1, 2017.
Hill said the wine is 12 percent alcohol by volume so consumers can enjoy it more. Oh, and don’t worry. No tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is contained in the wine, and consumers will not get “high” or test positive for drug use from drinking it.
TVM already has distribution commitments from Albertsons and a number of independent liquor stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Hill said. Beginning in April, the new wine also should be available at multiple HEB grocery stores.
The product “meets all legal requirements, making it the first wine per the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to do so in the U.S.A.,” Hill said.
“Our goal was to not only reach wine drinkers but those that normally would not drink wine. These are wines you can drink alone or use to create cocktails; the possibilities are endless,” Mittelstedt said.