At the auspicious time of 4:20 p.m. on April 20, 2023, I’m in a high state of zen, floating on my back inside a mineral pool heated by underground hot springs to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with my shadows directed upwards in the warm spring sun, exhilarating Where the tension melts from my body. Only in the absence of the distress and stress I was carrying did I begin to feel the impact of the weight I had carried with me on the road from Oakland all the way to the top of Napa Valley. On 4/20, I’m incorporating cannabis as one component of a complete holistic leap to joy. new company Canscapehosts an overnight wine country event highlighting the best of California’s renowned agro-state and cannabis on the go. carte du jour.
While weed-infused dinners are not uncommon in the Golden State, the legality of the gray area in terms of cannabis consumption means that they are often hosted in private homes or event venues. Founded by a travel writer based in San Francisco Chelsy DavisAnd Canscape He breaks boundaries in the tourism industry by combining hemp cuisine with legendary hotel properties. Its first event, in February, was held at the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, a venue that has hosted rock and roll royalty. Her second event occurred on 4/20 in Dr. Wilkinson Resort in Calistoga, an area known for its mineral pools and volcanic mud baths. As we speak before the 4/20 event, Davis is on the heels of a press trip to a luxury hotel in Fiji.
“I have a good sense of what I value as a traveler and when I go to a property or a great dinner,” Davis says. “I feel like my background writing about hospitality, travel experiences, and great dinner events has really helped in terms of planning these events.”
Arriving in Calistoga and enjoying the pool, I headed to my hotel room to prepare for the Canescape dinner. I grew up in Solano County, which borders Napa County, and have fond childhood memories of spending time with my mom and brother in Calistoga. In fact, the first time I stayed at Dr. Wilkinson’s was with my mom a few years ago. Since then, the hotel, which was originally founded in 1952, has undergone a renovation. The property has kept its iconic neon sign and the pools are the same, but now they have a mid-century modern look designed to appeal to a younger demographic.
Across the city’s main street, under the neon sign, is another sign that reads, “Where Wellness Meets Happiness.” The drug has makers directives that refer to it as a “detox” and a “retox.” Once a producer of crops like walnuts and plums, the Napa Valley is now known as one of the most popular wine-producing regions in the world. Calistoga nestles entirely within the popular wine-growing region, but it’s an unusual place to host a cannabis event because the city doesn’t allow commercial cannabis cultivation or adult dispensaries.
“Obviously there are a lot of people against it [cannabis], who are kind of set in their ways. Davis says of hosting a wine country weed event. “There’s a lot of push and pull, but I think ultimately when I was trying to figure out a company idea that was also relevant and something that people would be interested in, I’d bet this would continue to grow just in terms of a viable tourism industry.”
The idea for Cannescape was born out of Davis’ background in tourism and travel, more specifically her work on social media for Napa Valley Cannabis Association.
“Napa is known for its amazing wine experiences, beautiful vineyards, fine dining, very luxurious experiences, but they also want to cater to a younger population, and this demographic wants more experiences,” Davis says. “So not only is the wine good, but obviously the thing that makes California unique is the fact that hemp is legal.”
California’s cannabis law requires only licensed dispensaries to sell food and beverages containing THC. To get around this restriction, dinner at Dr. Wilkinson’s consists of CBD-infused dishes and does not include smoking.
“Most hotels have no-smoking rules, and that’s just an extra layer of complication that I’m trying to avoid now,” Davis explains.
Heading to the glass-enclosed event space where the CBD dinner will be taking place, I realize I’m still a bit early and join a yoga class happening in the grassy area in front of the hotel lobby. Overnight Canescape takes place alongside Calistoga Wellness Week and I’m taking it all in. After making an instant friendship with another dinner guest, we join in for another Wellness Week activity and make scented candles together. Next, we head to the six-course meal, which Davies introduced through her writing, Chef Solomon Johnson. Johnson won the fourth episode of the show minced 420, a cannabis cooking competition produced by the Food Network. After he and business partner Chef Michael Woods started the Pan-African take-out restaurant, Bussdown, out of Auckland’s ghost kitchen, they opened OKO, a restaurant located in Auckland’s famous Tribune Tower. When I speak to Johnson he is in his home state of Maryland working on a food court restaurant.
“I’m not a cannabis chef and I try to remind everyone that I’m, you know, just a chef who loves cannabis,” says Johnson. “I look at it like no other ingredient in my pantry.”
Johnson sees himself as an advocate of botanical medicine. Microdosing is a key concept behind his CBD dinner.
“We’re going to make sure everyone is aware of their consumption… Obviously, too much of anything is bad.” “Being aware and intentional about how, why you take it, and when is an important part of growing up as a cannabis consumer.”
The gala dinner begins with a presentation from some of the event’s sponsors. Includes author and certified bartenders Jimmy EvansAnd Herb Som, talks about cannabis-wine pairings. During her presentation, Evans passes around wine glasses filled with various plants, including cannabis, to show terpenesThe aromatic elements found in both cannabis and wine that contribute to their taste. Stephanie Honigchairman Napa Valley Cannabis AssociationShe talks to the group about her experience promoting cannabis in a region known for its wine. Honig is also the Director of Sales and Communications for her family’s business, Honig Vineyard and Winery.
“We all want the best thing for Napa,” Honig told me on a phone call before the 4/20 event. “We’re third generation, family business, with four kids, and we obviously want Napa to be successful, valuable, and prosperous in the future, but we just disagree on what that looks like. For some vintners or some Napa residents, it’s really about sticking to wine exclusively. Lee, it’s looking at, you know, there’s no other industry that’s not looking at consumer trends and adapting to some extent.”
Most people who visit Napa Valley are Boomers and Gen Xers, Honig explains, noting that the area needs to look toward attracting a younger demographic in order to remain successful.
was lost [young tourists]”We’re losing them in places like Mendocino and Lake County where they can go and have the experience of going to a winery, but also go to a brewery and get great food and go to a cannabis garden and have a diverse experience,” says Honig. The past 30 years and it’s amazing, but I don’t believe in hanging your hat on that. I think you really need to move on and look at the next step.”
During the 4/20 event, Honig says she believes low-dose cannabis drinks could be an alternative or additive to alcoholic beverages. Canescape Dinner reinforced this idea by starting with an alcohol-free cannabis appetizer Artet. Then, the other patrons and I hopped in for Johnson’s meal. Each course included 10.5mg of CBD, but we were all offered a side dish of 30mg of THC-infused avocado oil to add to our dishes as we pleased. Dinner highlights included black bean soup with tempura crispy hemp leaves and crab tart with maltese sauce and caviar. The whole experience felt spoiled and by the end most diners were smiling and calming with the effects of the CBD.
“Think [CBD] Not being psychoactive, but being more relaxed, that’s a noticeable difference and I think that’s part of the education process,” says Johnson. “A lot of people at that dinner may be early adopters and may not have experienced the unquote ‘therapeutic’ feeling so I think It is a nice. It’s like a little pool, you know what I mean? ”
Participating in a dinner like the one hosted by Cannescape, Johnson says, is a “powerful social experiment” that should include educating diners so they can break down the stigmas attached to cannabis. It is also an opportunity to increase tourism dollars in the local economy.
“Having this opportunity to work with so many distinct spaces is fueling the fire in a way that we would not have been able to do on our own had we been trying to provide this service without it. But it is also a symbiotic relationship in the sense that these spaces are not always booked,” says Johnson. “Whether people want to admit it or not, we are going through an economic crisis where people are very smart with their money in the Gulf region in general.”
After dinner, I part ways with a businessman and a cannabis activist Amber Center their company Landrace Origins Serve coffee during your two-course CBD breakfast the next morning. Center spent her 4/20 vacation getting a massage at the resort’s spa and headed to Washington, D.C. the next day for a wedding. National Cannabis Festival. We both agreed that the Cannescape event was one of the classiest 4/20 events we’ve ever experienced. “Wellness” is a buzzword thrown around a lot in both the cannabis and travel industries, but the magic point for ultimate relaxation comes when you combine cannabinoids with other healthy habits like eating fresh food or participating in physical activities like yoga or natural mineral spring water.
“We’re debuting a new segment of cannabis tourism that incorporates fine dining with cannabis-infused travel and dining,” Davis says.