The legalization of cannabis in California will impact the wine industry, there's no doubt about it.
Whether through competition for agricultural resources like land and water or consumer attention, weed poses a threat. It can also provide opportunity for winery owners with an entrepreneurial spirit, who find new partnerships or new products.
"It's an incredibly competitive industry," George Christie, CEO of the Wine Industry Network, said of the wine industry. "Every winery owner is looking for anything that impacts their profitability, on the positive or negative side."
"With the cannabis industry, there is still a lot of uncertainty on how that might effect wine," Christie added.
That's why the Wine Industry Network will host the Central Coast's first Wine & Weed Symposium on May 10 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in San Luis Obispo.
The one-day forum includes sessions with cannabis experts on topics like "The Business of Cannabis; A New Normal," "Cannabis Use for Wellness; Will Wine Feel an Impact?" and "Wine Industry's New Neighbor; Predictions for Wine & Weed."
The curriculum is geared toward people in the wine industry, "to come get a little education about what is happening with cannabis and insights into where the industry is going," Christie said.
Ultimately, he thinks the two industries have more in common than conflict.
"There is going to be a lot of opportunity for collaboration," Christie said.
He expects 200 to 300 people to attend the Central Coast event. A similar event is planned in August in Santa Rosa.