The typical dispensary already has people on staff who can help customers choose the right strain of marijuana for the experience they want. But there’s not yet international standards for an expert cannabis sommelier.
The Ontario, Canada, chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) is taking the first steps toward changing that situation. They have developed a new education course that allows current sommeliers to apply their skills to cannabis, according to High Times.
What Is A Cannabis Sommelier?
A cannabis sommelier is “a wine professional with an extensive knowledge in pairing cannabis with gastronomy, service, and spirits,” Andrew Freedman, an expert with Canadian company Lifford Cannabis Solutions, told High Times.
The CAPS courses will focus on how cannabis will impact the food industry as adult-use marijuana becomes legal across Canada this month. The monthly sessions begin in October and run through December.
A sommelier is considered an expert on wine. This includes expertise in wine service, wine storage, and wine pairings with food. In the modern restaurant industry, they also may develop wine lists for one or more restaurants, oversee the training of staff, and working with chefs on dishes that compliment specific wines.
The CAPS courses take the first steps toward bringing this same expertise to cannabis. CAPS is offering the courses in a partnership with Lifford Cannabis Solutions.
Courses include an overview of cannabis and the hospitality industry, terpenes and terroir, and cannabis cocktails.
Why Make The Effort?
As things currently stand in the U.S. and Canada, people can train to become cannabis experts with many of the skills applied by a sommelier. However, as pointed out by High Times, these do not carry the “same clout” as a sommelier certification.
In an interview with High Times, Freedman said that a cannabis expert is “definitely not” a sommelier. He said that cannabis may need its own designations, such as “master of cannabis,” and groups dedicated to educating themselves on the fine details of cannabis and its use.
He also said he expects cannabis cocktails to become a huge trend in Canada once legalization goes into effect, although great care needs to be taken in how alcohol and cannabis are mixed. He also said cannabis mocktails could emerge as a trend as more people decide to cut back on alcohol.
The edible cannabis market – which won’t be legal in Canada until likely in 2019 – is the “largest growth market for cannabis consumption,” Freedman said.
The interest in cannabis edibles continues to grow, with either cannabis-infused products or those made with cannabis as a primary ingredient. One example is in Washington, where the Goodship Company specializes in chocolates, sweets, and other confections made with cannabis as an ingredient. Because edibles can be more potent than smoking marijuana, Goodship Company owner Jody Hall told KUOW she microdoses her food.
“We want you to have a good time, figure out what your cruising control is,” she said.
Moving forward, cannabis sommeliers may eventually have a greater say on issues such as this. They could provide a welcome expertise in the use of marijuana products for discriminating cannabis users.