DOPE loves entrepreneurship, and the only thing cooler than a cannabis entrepreneur is a serial, female, cannabis entrepreneur.
One such woman, recently featured on DOPE Magazine’s website, is Cynthia Salarizadeh, founder and CEO of the entrepreneur tech suite, AxisWire; co-founder of cannabis-finance media outlet Green Market Report; co-founder of women’s networking organization Industry Power Women; and founder of Salar Media Group, which was recently acquired by KCSA Strategic Communications, arguably the largest PR and IR firm in cannabis, where she now serves as managing partner.
Now, the Persian-American business builder at it again; this time with a cannabis-infused wine company: House of Saka, Inc.
A few weeks ago, Saka announced the launch of what they claim is the world’s first luxury line of cannabis-infused wines from Napa Valley. Dubbed Saka Wines, the alcohol-free beverage line features a pair of sparkling Brut Rosé and still Rosé wines, infused with THC and CBD.
“Saka is the perfect marriage of legalization and the Napa Valley,” Gale Kauffman, Principal and Founder of Kaufman Campaign Consultants, and Campaign Manager and Lead Consultant for California’s Prop 64.
Kauffman was assigned to Saka’s advisory board, alongside Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing director of the cannabis hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management.
Saka Wines are sourced from hand-selected vineyards across Napa Valley. Once fermented, the alcohol is removed from the wine through a proprietary process; then, a mixture of THC and CBD that is both odorless and tasteless is added.
It is this special THC/CBD mixture that Saka Wines CEO Tracey Mason believes will help give the brand a leg up on the competition.
“The water-soluble technology that House of Saka is leveraging in our infused products has really changed the game – allowing for a level of predictability and consistency that edibles simply can’t deliver, and consumers are clamoring for,” says Mason. “Those benefits, combined with improved taste profiles and a broader range of beverages available, will continue to drive unprecedented growth in the category. We’re proud to be on the forefront of that.”
Saka Wines is the latest in a growing number of cannabis-infused beverages to hit the market in recent years. In fact, Business Insider estimates that the cannabis-infused beverage market could reach sales of $600 million in sales by 2022, with approximately $340 million coming from THC-based beverages.
Given the how lucrative the infused market is becoming, it is not surprising that several large-scale beverage makers are opting in. Most notably Constellation Brands, the makers of Corona beer, recently made an investment of more than $4 billion into Canopy Growth, one of the largest cannabis companies in the world. Other beverage companies are signaling intent on entering the infused beverage market. Lagunitas Brewing, in collaboration with AbsoluteXtracts, released their infused sparkling water, ‘Hi-Fi Hops‘. In addition, former Blue Moon brewmaster Keith Villa recently announced he would release a THC-infused brew through his own, new company Ceria, Inc.
While many of the cannabis-infused beverages on the market are aiming for a broad audience, Saka Wines is trying a different approach by focusing on women who value luxury and relaxation.
“Infused beer is marketed more toward a male audience,” says Salarizadeh. “Luxury infused rosés by Saka allow women to replace the harmful side-effects from alcohol and the unnecessary calories with a familiar glass of deliciousness. It is a healthier option.”
A few weeks ago, DOPE was invited to the Elevated Mansion in Las Vegas for the first-ever tasting of Saka Wines. So, we wanted to share the verdict with you:
The light Rosé tastes just like non-infused wine from Napa. It’s light, fresh and somewhat fruity. After 10 minutes, a nice buzz gets going, a feeling similar to that of a high-quality infused beverage like mood33 or syrup-form products like Baker Bros’.
And, as Emily Paxhia mentions, getting the pleasure of drinking some nice wine without the pains of a hangover is no small feat.
Scheduled to hit shelves within the first quarter of 2019, Saka Wines will be available in approximately 600 stores throughout California and Nevada, with plans for further expansion after the initial launch.