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IS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA THE CHAMPAGNE OF WEED? PART 1

Welcome to California sign

There’s only one place in the world where you can get authentic Champagne. But there’s really no world class strain with the same type of reputation. This series explores areas in the world where we believe has the potential to become the one and only Champagne of weed.

HISTORY OF CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE

There have been vineyards growing grapes in the specific climate and soil of Champagne, France since the first century BCE. In the over two thousand years since it was first cultivated, the land has had a tumultuous history. After being a valued piece of wine-growing territory for a millennium and a half, the area was ravaged by the Hundred Years before bouncing back and tripling their number in the late 1400s. Then more centuries of prosperity until Nazi occupation of France during World War II, when the appointed overseer, or “weinführer”, bled the region’s wine supply until it was liberated in 1944. In the midst of all this chaos, the winemakers of Champagne always felt pride for their wine and it’s characteristic bubbly nature. So, in 1927, they succeeded in legally setting the boundaries and regulations for all wine that would be called ‘champagne’. When all the deliberation was over, the official Champagne production area was over 80,000 acres. These principles and geographic restrictions remain in force today.

Champagne field France and windmill

WHERE IS COMPARABLE FOR WEED?

I say all of this to say, those people really care about their name and its history and recognition. There’s plenty of places that grow wine of different varietals and styles but there’s only one champagne that carries the same significance. Malbec or Pinot Noir, for example, don’t have the same exclusivity or allure. Marijuana, as you know, operates in a completely different manner.

While there’s many that wish to claim the title of “best bud” producer, there’s no champagne equivalent in the world of weed that carries the same legal weight. And that’s probably a good thing. You can pretty much find dank weed all across North America. It’s been harder to grow in some places than others because of laws that vary across states and countries though. This has led to a few regions of cannabis cultivation sparking mystique in the middle of stoner circles everywhere. British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Colorado and, of course, the Emerald Triangle just north of the San Francisco Bay Area all have a reputation for powerful, well-grown, quality bud. So much so that, before legalization spread, much of the weed you would get across North America was grown in one of these places.

Since there’s no official “best cannabis” region, we’ve decided to break down the areas with historically potent pot and make an argument for why they should be considered the champagne of weed. At the end of the day it’s all for fun and we’re happy great smoke is available everywhere, but let us know if you agree and why your area is the champagne of weed!

First up, Northern California.

It’s no secret California is home to some of the best cannabis in the world and has been for some time. Specifically, weed grown in the northern region’s Emerald Triangle, a space covering Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties converge, is exalted as a prime growing spot.

Near the tail end of the 1960s when the counterculture movement was at its height, many of the hippies, revolutionaries, and peace & love proselytizers suddenly migrated in large quantities to the Emerald Triangle. Before that many had campaigned for weed legalization in Northern California and elsewhere. Not long after moving there, they started to learn how to grow the quality product and started several makeshift farms in the region’s dense forest to fund their utopian dreams. But why is the herb there special? Do these counties really carry magic weed?

Norhern california map

There are a number of answers to these questions, the most important being the climate there. Thanks to some of the best natural conditions for cannabis on the planet, weed can be grown practically anywhere and has space to prosper. Some rumours even claim weed crops can grow into virtual trees, reaching higher than 15 feet tall. The soil is rich here and the area, or “terroir” to borrow a wine term, adds a unique flavour to the herb. This is bolstered by the temperate climate which produces the morning fog that enriches the plants. In the last fifty years, this space and climate have allowed growers in the Emerald Triangle to experiment with various strains. Mendocino specifically is where some of the purple strains popular in the nineties were first seen and perfected, having them bear the name Mendocino Purps.

Recently, Northern California growers have been looking to codify their unique approach to cannabis the same way champagne is. In 2017, the state senate of California passed a bill requiring the Department of Food and Agriculture to come up with “a process by which licensed cultivators may establish appellations of standards, practices, and varietals applicable to cannabis grown in a certain geographical area” by the year 2021. Some growers in Mendocino have formed the Mendocino Appellations Project (MAP) to dictate the terms of the labelling themselves. MAP wants to standardize and formalize “appellations of origin” the way you can find out exactly what vineyard in Champagne your bubbly came from. These labels wouldn’t necessarily be along county lines or regional districts but could signify the various grower communities that have formed around certain strains in the area’s storied history.

So what do you think? What’s for sure, is that Northern California, and especially the Emerald Triangle, will continue to be a haven for prime weed and connoisseurs seeking rare strains to experience.