After federal rebuke, hemp winemaker vows to keep exploring idea

A New York hemp grower whose attempt to launch a hemp wine label was blocked by federal regulators says he’s still exploring the idea.

Kaelan Castetter, CEO of Castetter Sustainability Group, tells Wine Spectator that he’s not giving up on plans to sell wine infused with hemp terpenes.

Castetter’s hemp wine business, Sovereign Vines, was blocked by federal regulators last year. The company planned to add hemp terpenes, but no cannabinoids, to a semi-sweet white wine and a cabernet sauvignon.

New York state regulators warmed to the hemp-wine idea, but federal regulators blocked it. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which must sign off on any new ingredients to alcoholic beverages sold commercially, said that terpenes extracted from hemp flower cannot legally be added to consumable products.

The family says it plans to continue researching the idea through Castetter Sustainability Group, a collective of 16 New York hemp farms.

Castetter says the terpenes add a “unique, earthy tone” to wine.