Will Marijuana Be the Next Great Wine Industry Disrupter? The biggest disruption to the American wine industry was Prohibition, which shut down some eighty percent of existing wineries in the period 1920-33. After the repeal, it took over 60 years for the number of U.S wineries to reach 1920 levels.
The disruptions facing the industry today are unlikely to be as fatal as Prohibition. Still, the panel pointed to marijuana, home winemaking, China, climate change, and tap & keg wine as potential challenges for the wine industry.
Perhaps the biggest unknown disruptor at this point, with California being on the brink of legalization, is the issue of marijuana. This topic exploded the audience into non-stop questioning and theorizing, and most of the other disruptor topics only received a cursory statement or two.
The question for the wine industry is whether marijuana consumption could replace any portion of wine (alcohol) consumption. The panel mentioned that statistics were coming in from Colorado suggesting that the number of DUI’s has gone down since legalizing pot, perhaps pointing to a decreased consumption of alcohol. The panel did not present complete statistics.