A young entrepreneur has launched France’s first wine infused with a cannabis extract in the heart of the Bordeaux wine-growing region, hoping to shake up traditions and score with millennials.
Raphael De Pablo, the 28-year-old creator of the Burdi W brand, infuses a locally sourced “petit verdot” varietal, usually reserved for high-quality wines, with cannabidiol (CBD), one of the key substances found in cannabis.
While the intoxicating THC cannabis component remains strictly banned in France, the use of CBD is not only legal but has been credited with some medicinal properties, including for alleviating epilepsy or anxiety.
“It adds a relaxing effect to the classic effect of alcohol,” De Pablo told AFP, who said he came up with the idea for his brand in 2018.
While his product is legal and certified “from the seed to the finished product” it cannot claim to be wine, and has to be marketed as a “flavoured wine-based drink.”
A “little touch of blackcurrant” balances out the strong CBD taste, De Pablo said, adding that hitting the right mix is “one of the more complex parts of making this drink”.
Burdi W has attracted more than 1,000 backers in a crowdfunding campaign, and De Pablo said he has sold already 8,000 bottles at 34 euros ($41) each.
Most of the buyers are in France but orders are arriving from other European countries as well as the United States, where CBD-infused wine is already popular, but also very expensive, he said.
– ‘Vegetable notes’ –
France may be among the world’s greatest wine-loving countries, but there is evidence that young adults feel less drawn to regular wine-drinking than their parents or grandparents.
A survey last year by the Credoc research body said that only a quarter of people aged 18 to 24 drink wine once a week on average, compared to 50 percent of people in their 40s, and 60 percent of 75-year-olds and over.