The badass ladies behind TSO Sonoma host dining events throughout Northern California that bring together wine, food, and cannabis in stunning settings. The idea is to elevate the cannabis experience and make it easy for folks to learn about different flavor elements, pairings and how you can bring cannabis into your wellness routine in a balanced way.
A recent event, dubbed “Terpenes and Terroir,” took place at Gary Farrell Winery & Vineyard in Healdsburg, overlooking the Russian River Valley’s rolling hills, vineyards, and redwoods.
TSO Sonoma’s founders, Allison and Devika, gave us the full story on this event, their brand, and what terpenes and terroir. Also, if you’re wondering how to pair cannabis and wine at a dinner party, just follow their three essential steps for successful tasting and pairing below.
Photography by Cynthia Glassell
Tell us about TSO Sonoma and how this bucket list-worthy event came to be!
TSO Sonoma, is a luxury cannabis lifestyle company dedicated to reimagining how people approach wellbeing through events, products, and exclusive membership.
We are a female-founded, female-powered company and we’re redefining the cannabis lifestyle by elevating the plant into the realm of elegance and taste, forwarding its renewed reputation as an agent of wellness and balance.
So far, we have produced 12 sold-out dining events throughout Northern California and plan to expand to new breathtaking venues offering unique experiences with the unification of vendors, chefs, and winemakers from one of the world's most sustainably focused regions, Sonoma County.
Tell us about the venue! What made this event space perfect for your gathering?
Established in 1982, Gary Farrell Winery & Vineyard is an iconic winery in Healdsburg, CA. We chose this venue because of the spectacular patio views overlooking redwood lined vineyards as the winery is perched high on the hilltops of the Russian River Valley. Besides the gorgeous setting, Gary Farrell Winery makes phenomenal vineyard designate wines representing the terroir of the region.
Terroir, is a French term describing the culmination of all environmental factors such as the soil, sun, fog, wind, elevation, etc. Both cannabis and wine grow in similar climates, so where good wine is grown you can usually find good cannabis. Just like a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a distinctive unique flavor, so does a Humboldt Kush. Terroir is expressed through organic compounds called terpenes.
What are a few tips on pairing cannabis and wine?
Approach a cannabis tasting just like you would a wine tasting. If you are planning to host a dinner party that incorporates wine and cannabis, use these three tasting steps to pick out a harmonizing blend that will get your senses activated for an exciting evening ahead.
SEE: First look at the wine you want to serve. Is it light-bodied and bright, or a heavier darker red? Lighter bodied wines pair beautifully with uplifting strains.
SMELL: Can you pick out any distinctive aromas in the wine. Does it have citrus characteristics or more earthy? A citrusy wine like Sauvignon Blanc will pair beautifully with a strain high in the terpene Limonene, like the strain Candyland.
TASTE: Does the wine have a fruity flavor profile? Is it dark red fruit? Some wine, like Zinfandel, is known for having a ripe spicy berry characteristic that pairs well with strains high in Beta Charophyllene; which known for having spicy, peppery characteristics.
Sensory evaluation of wine or cannabis is all subjective, so trust your intuition for what works well for you. Trust your nose and, most importantly, enjoy exploring different combinations!
What was on the menu? We’d love to hear about the chefs and the unique cannabis, wine, and food pairing concept!
The theme for our August 8th event was “Terpenes + Terroir”.
We collaborated with Chef Holden Jagger of Altered Plates Hospitality to create a menu with each course highlighting a specific terpene. Terpenes are the aromatic oils that are responsible for the aromas in cannabis. Terpenes can also be found in wine, as well as many other fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Each terpene gives off a unique aroma profile and, studies now show, it is actually the variance in terpenes that give different cannabis strains certain effects. Learning more about terpenes will help guide you for pairing different cannabis strains with wine and food.Each course was paired with a different wine as well as a different cannabis strain based on terpenes. Although this was a non-consumption event, guests were able to have a sensory experience while learning about the synergies that can be created when combining food, wine, and cannabis.
How did you incorporate other cannabis products and education into the gathering?
We love educating guests on how to incorporate cannabis into their health conscious lifestyle and then send them home with a gift bag full of our favorite cannabis products that they can try at home.
A big part of our ethos is cultivating community. We collaborate with brands that are dedicated to sustainability and want to help spread the word about conscious companies creating exceptional products.
What is your #1 tip for those looking to host cannabis events and to break the stigma around it?
If you are hosting a consumption event, keep infusions at micro-dose levels to ensure everyone has a good time and always end the evening with CBD for a grounding calming effect.
For us, we aim to break the stigma by showing people that cannabis can not only be treated like wine, but can also be experienced just like wine.
Will you be hosting any additional events? How can our readers attend?
TSO Sonoma Elevated Events are offered every couple of months and sell out quickly. To get on the list, you can join the TSOcial Club or follow along on Instagram.
Want more cannabis inspired events? Check out these 15 experiences & gatherings.