The Perfect Wine And Weed To Get You Through The Coronavirus Pandemic Lockdown

The bottle: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2019, $17.99 The Perfect Wine And Weed To Get You Through The Coronavirus Pandemic Lockdown

The back story: It’s no secret that Americans are drinking and smoking more during the coronavirus pandemic. Wine and weed sales, for example, soared by 66%, according to market researcher Nielsen, based on year-over-year figures for a period in March.

It stands to reason that this particular bottle from New Zealand’s Marlborough region represents a small chunk of those sales. The Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is consistently the most-popular Sauvignon Blanc available in the U.S., based on sales data. For that matter, the retail site said it was its best-selling bottle overall last year.

What’s behind the appeal? Part of it is the growing popularity of New Zealand wines — in particular, Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. These are easy-to-drink, full-flavored white wines, known for “intense, mouth-watering acidity,” according to one oenophile.

And the Kim Crawford label — Kim is a man, by the way — has been at it for nearly 25 years. In some ways, Crawford helped create the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc boom, which was also driven by the relative affordability of his bottles, even as they earned accolades from top wine publications. In short, the Crawford Sauvignon Blanc has “a devoted, even fanatical, following,” says Kim Crawford Wines Vice President of Marketing Julie Rossman.

Kim Crawford Wines was eventually sold and is now part of Constellation Brands, a major conglomerate of beer, wine and spirits brands. Crawford himself now has a new label, called Loveblock.

What we think about it: Sometimes the American public gets it right. The Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is about as tantalizing and delicious as an under-$20 bottle of wine gets, with bright, tart flavors. The label says you should pick up notes of everything from passion fruit to freshly cut grass.

How to enjoy it: Keep this nicely chilled and pair it with seafood (say, oysters) or vegetables (say, asparagus). Or just enjoy it as a before-dinner wake-the-palate sip.


Mike Tyson’s 420-Acre Weed Ranch Rakes In $500K A Month


Hope Wiseman Is The Youngest Black Woman Dispensary Owner In The United States
In the fall of 2017, Hope’s ambition and hard work led her to become the youngest black woman dispensary owner in the United States when she officially started Mary and Main. Hope Wiseman Is The Youngest Black Woman Dispensary Owner In The United States

Hope was born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, graduating from the illustrious Spelman College where she received her Bachelor’s in Economics.


Hope has always been passionate about serving her community and was known for her exceptional leadership skills in several campus organizations.

Hope Wiseman Is The Youngest Black Woman Dispensary Owner In The United States

Of her many undergraduate accomplishments, Hope cites her time as co-founder of her alma mater’s Habitat for Humanity chapter as some of the most educational and inspiring opportunities she encountered on her road to entrepreneurship.


After spending a year at SunTrust as an Equity Institutional Sales Analyst, Hope decided to continue striving for excellence by pursuing her dreams of entrepreneurship.


With her financial and banking background, Hope founded Mary and Main (formerly Compassionate Herbal Alternative) on the foundation of her vision to create opportunity for minorities who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Hope Wiseman Is The Youngest Black Woman Dispensary Owner In The United States
Hope holds personally the core values of Mary & Main, making it her mission to provide quality products to her community while offering a comfortable experience to patients who suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses.


With our Grand Opening slated for Spring 2018, Hope and her colleagues are very excited to introduce Mary and Main to the world. Hope Wiseman Is The,Hope Wiseman Is The,Hope Wiseman Is The


Updated: 4-19-2020

How To Make Wine Purchases Count As An Industry Pivots

As wineries, retailers and restaurants fight to stay in business and support their employees, oenophiles are looking to spend their money meaningfully.

SO MANY THINGS I’ve long taken for granted—ordering a glass of Chablis in a restaurant, visiting a winery’s tasting room or just standing in line in a liquor store—seem like distant memories. Now, restaurants all over the country are selling wines to pick up curbside. Wineries are holding tastings via Facebook or Zoom. And wine retailers are donating profits to support unemployed restaurant staff.

Oregon winemaker David Patte had the bad luck to launch his brand-new label, Sun Break Wines, in early March. “When you think of all the risks—I didn’t think of this,” said Mr. Patte, who was at a UPS Store in Corvallis, Ore., mailing bottles of wine when we talked. Most of his sales have been to family and friends; hopes of finding distribution have been dashed as distributors around the country have laid off sales staff.

I found Mr. Patte’s winery through the Berserker Quarantine Relief forum on Wine Berserkers (, the online wine community launched in 2009. The forum, created in mid-March, lets small producers post offerings of their wines, often with deep discounts and/or free shipping.

Now you can chat and taste with winemakers via Facebook.

Berserker Quarantine Relief has been a vital means of support for small wineries. Erin Di Costanzo, who produces small amounts of single-vineyard Cabernet in Napa and Sonoma with her husband, Massimo, under the Di Costanzo label, said in an email that sales generated by the forum have given her winery a much needed “jolt.” Di Costanzo’s offering on Berserker Quarantine Relief sold out in three weeks.

Another winemaker who has benefited from selling via that online forum, Jeff Nelson of Liquid Farm winery in Santa Barbara, estimated revenue lost from tasting-room and wholesale sales at around $150,000 each month. Like so many others, he had to lay off his entire tasting-room staff.

Quite a few wineries hope to increase sales by offering oenophiles the chance to chat and taste with winemakers via Facebook or Zoom. Some tastings are free and some are tied to a purchase. I tried both kinds, with mixed success. The Zoom format was less satisfying, especially when the audio or video failed or the session seemed poorly thought out, and looking at multiple strangers in their bedrooms or kitchens was, frankly, weird. I did get to witness some inadvertently comedic moments from non-video-savvy winemakers—particularly those filming outdoors. My favorite winery-produced video didn’t feature wine at all but a flock of sheep grazing in Napa vineyards. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you can literally count the Shafer Vineyards sheep: Simply click the image of woolly creatures on the homepage ( to link to 6 hours of pastoral footage.

As restaurants around the country pivot to takeout only, sommeliers are posting videos of their own—many of which seem to be more about cheering one another up than selling wine. But they’re doing the latter too. At Vetri Cucina in Philadelphia, the entire cellar of Italian wines went up for sale to an “overwhelming” response, according to wine director Bobby Domenick, after he put the word out via sociae media. The fact that Pennsylvania’s state-controlled wine and liquor stores were all closed probably helped fuel the frenzy, as did the high quality of the Vetri collection itself.

In Portland, Ore., wine director and restaurateur Andy Fortgang received a similarly enthusiastic response when he emailed and posted news that he was selling wines off the lists of his restaurants Le Pigeon and Canard (, at prices close to retail (40-50% off list price). Such was the demand for the restaurants’ deep cellar of great Burgundies and other collectibles, he decided to scale back to weekly “curated” wine packages that customers can pick up curbside.

In hard-hit New York City, after the state liquor authority allowed restaurants to sell wine directly to customers under a special proviso, Caleb Ganzer, managing partner of the wine bar Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, turned wine delivery man. He’s been taking orders via the bar’s website (, packing up bottles and delivering them via Zipcar. Although he’s been quite busy, the bustle hasn’t necessarily translated into big bucks. Mr. Ganzer estimated his wines sales are down 80% from what they were when the restaurant was open. He has been changing up featured wines often, with creative offerings like a selection of two “farmer” (small-producer) wines coupled with produce from the Union Square Greenmarket—“the ultimate CSA box,” as he describes it.

Mr. Ganzer offered to drive bottles to my house if I wanted to buy a few, but his delivery capacity is limited. I did buy a couple bottles of an attractively mineral 2018 Etienne Boileau Petit Chablis ($26) with my takeout dinner from Faubourg Montclair, in Montclair, N.J. ( The restaurant’s beverage director, Philippe Marchal, said he’s pricing wines just $1 above retail. And while sales were initially slow, people are now frequently adding wine—sometimes entire cases—to dinner orders. Mr. Marchal speculated that his customers don’t want to visit wine stores.

Still, retail wine sales are up, according to Nielsen, by 32% the week ending April 4 over the same week the year before. Recognizing that restaurateurs aren’t faring nearly so well, some retailers are offering special packages whose profits go to assisting unemployed restaurant workers. For example, Parcelle wine shop in Manhattan is selling a six-pack titled Shameless Plug ($150 at, with wines made by prominent sommeliers such as Le Bernardin’sAldo Sohm. One hundred percent of the profits from sales of this six-pack will directly benefit restaurant workers in New York by way of a partnership between Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants (ROAR), the Robin Hood Foundation and the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. In just the first few weeks, Parcelle owner Grant Reynolds reported, he has sold more than 160 Shameless Plug charity packs.

On a much larger scale, New York-based wine importer Patrick Mata of Olé & Obrigado chose 19 Spanish and Portuguese wines from his portfolio, earmarking 50% of the profits from this “Restaurant Relief” selection for the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, which directly assists unemployed restaurant workers around the country; in certain states profits will aid local relief initiatives too. A month after Mr. Mata began his campaign, 83 retailers in 15 states are offering these wines.

I bought a case of Restaurant Relief wines ($120) online from Grapes The Wine Company in White Plains, N.Y. (, and was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of the $10 bottles. My case included four bottles each of three wines, two Spanish and one Portuguese. The red was the soft, easy drinking 2017 Flaco Tempranillo from Spain; the white, the lively and bright 2018 Nortico Alvarinho from Portugal; and the rosé, the juicy, zesty 2018 Zestos Rosado Madrid.

I biked some bottles to the houses of nearby friends, including a few I knew needed a good glass (or two): a newly unemployed husband and wife, a journalist covering healthcare workers on the front lines, and a chef who had to close his restaurant. Everyone reported loving the wines, but we agreed that what we really want is to share a bottle when we resume normal life.

Updated: 6-2-2020

Essential Marijuana Sellers Are a Good Business for Their Landlords

During the coronavirus pandemic, doctors have prescribed marijuana for pain, nausea and muscle spasms, making it an essential business alongside pharmacies and grocery stores in much of the country.

The business of marijuana growing and processing is essential, according to many state governments. That has been a boon for owners of cannabis real estate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cannabis producers cultivate the plant in warehouses and process it into pills, vape kits and dried flowers that can be rolled into marijuana joints. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and in the District of Columbia, while recreational pot is legal in 11 states and in the District of Columbia.

Property investors typically purchase the warehouses and dispensaries from the operators, then lease the space back.

Doctors have prescribed marijuana for pain, nausea and muscle spasms, making it an essential business alongside pharmacies and grocery stores in much of the country. More than 20 states have designated the cannabis industry to be essential, allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, and in some cases recreational facilities, to stay open during shelter-in-place orders.

“The industry has quickly gone from a designation of ‘illegal’ to ‘essential’,” said Katie Barthmaier, chief executive officer of GreenAcreage, a real-estate landlord with five facilities.

Sales of inhalable marijuana products remained strong in the first quarter, said producers such as Green Thumb Industries and Curaleaf Holdings Inc., despite heightened concern about respiratory diseases related to Covid-19.

“Have we seen flower sales decline because of Covid? No, we have not seen a material decline,” said Tom Catherwood, managing director at BTIG REITs Research, referring to the smokable part of the cannabis plant.

Innovative Industrial Properties Inc., the only publicly listed landlord in the U.S. focused on cannabis facilities, has purchased five sites totaling around $176 million since March, when the pandemic’s spread led to nationwide lockdowns. It owns 49 medical cannabis cultivation facilities and seven dispensaries in 15 states.

Shares of the San Diego-based real-estate investment trust are up 54% since mid-March, outperforming the broader FTSE Nareit All Reits Index’s 19% gain over the same period.

Innovative Industrial Properties was also one of the top performing real-estate companies last year, at one point tripling its share price from the start of 2019.

GreenAcreage said it stopped acquisitions of warehouses when the pandemic started in March. The company worried that dispensaries could be forced to close.

The New York-based company said some operators started to offer curbside pickup and delivery as demand for cannabis remained steady even after early stockpiling.

There has been strong demand in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida. Total sales of medical marijuana in the Sunshine State through May 22 were up around 56% from roughly the same period in 2019, according to data from Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

Still, there have been weaker cannabis sales in Massachusetts and Nevada due to tighter social-distancing orders and collapsed tourism in Las Vegas. Recreational-use cannabis was designated nonessential in Massachusetts, a reminder to investors that state regulatory issues remain a risk.

What’s more, the substance is illegal under federal law. Some investors in cannabis real-estate companies prefer not to publicize their holdings while potential investors are worried about compromising their relationships with their lenders and other stakeholders.

“For these institutions, they may stay sidelined until there is significant legislative reform at the federal level, which we believe is still likely to be several years out,” said Paul Smithers, chief executive officer of Innovative Industrial Properties.

Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., raised $225 million in an initial public offering on Toronto’s Neo Exchange in February.

The company’s name came from its values of subverting the status quo and “is aligned with our mandate in a cutting-edge sector,” said Richard Acosta, chief executive officer of Subversive.

Updated: 12-14-2020

Of The 2,108 Wines I Tasted This Year, These 10 Were The Best

The vintage to drink now, or to add to your collection.

I taste far more than my fair share of the world’s great wines, so it’s never easy to pick my annual 10 best experiences.

Usually, though, they happen in winery cellars, tasting rooms, vineyards, and restaurants in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Not this year.

After the first 2 1/2 months, with visits to Paris, Reims, New York, and elsewhere, I began pouring from bottles in my home office. Winemakers joined me via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and more, and sometimes took notes at my own dinner table.

Nonetheless, more than 2,000 wines—2,108 to be exact, but who’s counting?—crossed my lips. Old vintages of fine Bordeaux vied with barrel samples of the superb 2019. New Champagne cuvées and vintages 2008 and 2012 are stellar. In the mix were surprises from new grapes and regions, as well as California reds and whites from wineries celebrating their 40th and 50th anniversaries.

Many of them wowed me, but those that I prize most this year made me see wine in a new light and conjured memories of happier times.

My top 10 range from one of the world’s greatest Champagnes to a $23 white from a very rare, exotic grape—and beyond, to a fabulous Brunello from one of Italy’s legendary winemakers.

$200 And Under

2019 Diamantakos Preknadi

My wine discovery of the year is this fascinating white made from an almost extinct local grape in Naoussa, a wine region in northern Greece best known for reds. The wine’s floral honeyed aromas, yellow fruit flavors, and round texture resemble viognier, but with a drier, chalkier, brighter side. Grape rescuer George Diamantakos poured it at the WineParis trade show in February, alongside 11 producers who champion unusual varieties that may hold the secret to great wines in a warmer future. $23

2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Blanc

This showstopping California blend of five white Rhône varieties from Paso Robles is a vivid reminder that you don’t have to compromise on quality to support wineries consciously working to make the world a better place. The stunning Esprit de Tablas white has salty minerality; zesty acidity; rich, complex flavors; and serious aging potential—a grand wine for a reasonable price. Tablas Creek became the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified winery this year, embracing a new comprehensive program that includes social responsibility for its workers. $45

2003 Château Suduiraut

A great wine experience often goes beyond what’s in the glass. I savored this opulent sweet sauternes in hedonistic surroundings: the Château de Versailles, the setting for a gala dinner celebrating the 70th anniversary of Bordeaux’s Commanderie de Bontemps, an association of top châteaus. We walked under sparkly chandeliers in the Hall of Mirrors in the splendid, art-packed, 390-foot long Galerie des Batailles. The dessert wine, suffused with caramelized citrus, honey, and ginger notes, was the perfect final sip, alongside a Delacroix painting of a swashbuckling battle scene. $60

2010 Château Haut-Bailly

The chance to compare 20 vintages of one of my favorite Bordeaux grands crus was a must-attend event. The tasting at a Manhattan loft was an homage to American owner Robert Wilmers, who purchased the Graves region estate in 1998 and oversaw constant improvements until his death in 2017. I was torn between the concentrated, plush, and polished 2016, and the violet- and cigar-scented 2010, with its fresh tobacco and spice power, but I gave the edge to 2010—it’s what to drink now. $149

2016 Sandrone le Vigne

As a Barolo devotee, I’m always looking for the “wow” years, like 2016, that remind wine lovers why they should collect these age-worthy Italian reds. Sandrone le Vigne, with its vivid core of cedar, cherry, and spice flavors, surpassed the dozens of other terrific options from 2016 that I sipped at an in-depth Barolo event in February. It’s a profound vino serioso that lingers on your palate. Luckily, the prices aren’t yet at Burgundy’s level, but collectors are beginning to dive in. $200

Over $200

2016 Larkmead Solari

I was all-in when Larkmead winemaker Dan Petroski promised lunch at New York’s Union Square Café with insider data, deep discussion, and 11 vintages of Solari, a cabernet sauvignon produced from a single parcel of vines at the historic Napa winery. For me, the big reveal was how the style of the wines had shifted from super ripe and fleshy to savory and structured. My favorite was the powerful 2016 vintage in which the elements of the new direction come together seamlessly. $224

2012 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

Only 39 vintages of Biondi-Santi Brunello Riserva have been released since the first one in 1888, so I eagerly joined a virtual tasting with Chief Executive Officer Giampiero Bertolini to try the most recent, from 2012. The wine shows all the new leather, crushed herb, velvety licorice, and red cherry-berry richness that has made this riserva so famous. The 2012 vintage has an added emotional element: It is the last one overseen by legendary winemaker Franco Biondi Santi, whose family created Brunello, and is dedicated to his memory. From $450

2006 Krug Clos du Mesnil

The new vintage of this crystalline all-chardonnay Champagne is the ultimate in sophisticated elegance: my finest—and rarest—fizz of 2020. It comes from a small, walled plot of vines in the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Although 2006 was a warm year, this layered bubbly hums with energy and combines fresh baked brioche aromas; a crisp, flinty, preserved lemon character; and a sumptuous creamy texture. I sipped it (no spitting) with Krug-provided music pairings by 3D music pioneer Ozark Henry. $1,195

Taylor Fladgate Very Old Tawny Port, Kingsman Edition

A sample of this unique blend of rare tawny port arrived in a tiny glass tube inside a fancy wooden box that could have held a collectible fountain pen. Still, there was enough liquid to revel in its seductive flavor starburst of candied citrus, sugared nuts, dried figs, and butterscotch, all tied together with a luxurious texture. And there’s the frisson of a movie tie-in—it was created to celebrate spy action-comedy The King’s Man, which will debut in February. The U.S. gets only 100 crystal decanters of it. $3,800

2017 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti

A week before the coronavirus lockdown in March, I was 60 stories above lower Manhattan at the Manhatta restaurant for the annual Domaine de la Romanée-Conti pre-release tasting—what ended up as my last wine event in the city for 2020. All the domaine’s seven reds and one white, are, as expected, superb. What to highlight? Although I loved the exceptionally concentrated and rich white Montrachet ($9,600), this complex, rose-petal-scented, ultra-rare Romanée-Conti is the ultimate red Burgundy. $15,500

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