Company hopes to bring pot and wine pairing dinner event to Steamboat

Scott Franz
The 13th annual Steamboat Wine Festival, which brings more than 500 fine wines, sommeliers, award-winning chefs and activities, takes place August 10 to 14.
Courtesy Photo

— Philip Wolf thinks it’s unfortunate some people only associate cannabis with fast food and “the munchies.”

So he started a business that shows off the more sophisticated side of cannabis.

At a Cultivating Spirits dinner, guests are taught how to become “cannabis connoisseurs,” or “cannaseurs,” as they experiment and learn which pot strains pair best with a glass of sauvignon blanc or a pistachio-crusted tuna tataki.

The drug is paired with the fine food and wine based on the terpene and flavonoid profiles of the pot.

Wolf, who has found success hosting such culinary events in some other ski towns on the Western Slope, is hoping to bring a pot and wine pairing dinner event to this city.

He’s envisioning the private event could accommodate about 50 people.

It would be the first event of its kind in Steamboat.

But, unlike all of the other wine tasting events at the festival, the presence of marijuana means Wolf has more hurdles to clear before the event gets the green light.

The dinner wouldn’t show up in any advertisements, and Wolf said tickets can’t be sold, so guests must be invited.

“It’s definitely a struggle to have to go and get some of the approvals we have to get,” Wolf said Wednesday. “This is new to everybody, and not all communities know how to deal with it yet, and I respect that.”

Wolf has been talking to city staff about the legality of hosting such an event here.

The discussions are continuing this week.

City staff attorney Dan Foote told the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night he was still working with Wolf on the logistics.

Foote said the dinner could theoretically be hosted at a restaurant if it was closed to the public for the event.

“I think he could do it in a way that doesn’t violate any criminal laws,” Foote said. “Lots of things need to be done to make it work.”

Foote’s comments came after a member of the city council expressed some concerns about the idea and pressed staff to ensure it was taking place legally.

“We’ve heard that the community doesn’t want pot tourism to become the next best thing happening here, and if we look the other way on a pot pairing dinner, that’s the road we head down here,” councilwoman Sonja Macys said.

She raised the question of whether dinner attendees would be driving afterward and said she hoped the city is doing the best it can to ensure there are no “unintended consequences” from the event.

Wolf said guests at the Cultivating Spirits events aren’t encouraged to consume a lot of cannabis, and alternative methods of transportation are recommended.

He said some towns he has approached with the pot-pairing dinner idea have been quick to reject it, but added he’s appreciated the reaction he’s gotten so far from Steamboat.

“When people say ‘no,’ I still have a smile on my face,” Wolf said. “I feel like we’ll be in full acceptance in the next two to three years if we keep approaching towns the right way.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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