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Hemp-infused wine producer to close after US regulators intervene

Sovereign Vines, a producer of hemp-infused wines in New York State, has said it will cease trading, citing opposition from federal officials.

Sovereign Vines said on Facebook that it decided to halt production of hemp-infused wines after discovering the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ‘does not intend to allow any sort of hemp extracts in beverages’.

Hemp is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant, but it doesn’t contain THC, a ‘cannabinoid’ that is the main psychoactive component of marijuana.

Sovereign Vines said it understood that FDA approval would not be granted ‘regardless of the fact our wine has not [sic] cannabinoids’, but it said that it hoped to return in future.

The producer had earlier gained backing from New York State authorities for its hemp-infused wines.

They include a Cayuga White varietal wine made with grapes from the Finger Lakes region, and also a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel from California’s Central Coast.  

However, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) said that did not recognise the group’s state label permit.

‘Last year, the TTB audited us. All of our records and licenses were in order but they ruled that our state label permit was not valid in their eyes,’ the firm said on Facebook.

It said it decided to close its business rather than appeal the TTB ruling, after learning of the FDA guidance.

But, it added, ‘This does not mean that we are going away. Our sister company, CSG Hemp, will continue fighting at the federal level. When the regulations allow, we will be back.’

Hemp can also be a source of CBD, which is another cannabinoid and is currently being scrutinised by the FDA as part of a wider review into cannabis-derived products.

Sovereign Vines used terpenes extracted from hemp, which are different to CBD, said a report in the New York Upstate publication.


 

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