Viticulture briefs: Federal agency to offer updated guidance on hemp ingredients in wine, beer

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TTB to offer updated guidance on hemp

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has said it will update its guidance on hemp ingredients within alcohol beverages after the recent federal farm bill excluded the cannabis strain from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

The federal agency in an April 25 statement said it still will reject any formulas that contain “hemp” ingredients other than those derived from hemp seeds or hemp seed.

There has been reluctance at the federal level to allow hemp ingredients into drinks and edibles despite the bill’s passage. Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration reaffirmed its authority to regulate products with cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under federal law. The cannabis sector took that statement as an indication federal relief would not be forthcoming for hemp products that contain cannabidiol, or CBD, a cannabis compound used to treat pain. The TTB has been in consultation with the FDA on the issue.

The wine industry has so far resisted putting cannabis ingredients into wine so it does not run afoul of current regulations. Yet, there have been efforts in the non-alcohol sector. Rebel Coast Winery of Sonoma last year introduced a non-alcoholic wine infused with THC, the principal psychoactive chemical in cannabis. It is sold in licensed dispensaries.

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New co-chair for Congressional Wine Caucus

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington will serve as the new co-chair for the Congressional Wine Caucus along with its founder, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St.Helena.

Like Thompson, Newhouse is a fellow grape grower. He represents the central part of the state of Washington and is a Republican.

“Mike truly understands the priorities and concerns of the wine community, and I look forward to working with him to ensure that our nation’s wine industry — from wine grape growers to winemakers and sellers — can continue to thrive and grow,” Newhouse said in a statement.

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SRJC wine program holds event

Santa Rosa Junior College’s wine studies program will hold an event next month to highlight its wines and its students.

The event will take place on June 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shone Farm Winery, located at 740 Steve Olson Lane in Forestville.

There will be complimentary wine tasting, music, food and children’s activities. Kevin Sea, coordinator of the wine studies program, said in a statement that the program will have a new website to showcase its wines made at Shone Farm. The program will also have new benefits for its wine club members.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.

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