Vintage Cannabis Curing: Patience Pays Off
When seasoned vintners store their wine in underground cellars or control their storage facility to match similar conditions, they’re doing so for scientific reasons, but there’s also good profit in being patient. At Cannador, we thought we’d explore this phenomena with cannabis and the results were strikingly similar.
While the process of fermenting alcohol is much different than curing bud, some very basic biological principles can be applied to the long-term storage of cannabis that will yield incredible tastes and smells in a process we like to call vintage cannabis curing.
It’s recommended by many connoisseurs to cure your buds for at least 4-8 weeks, although some prefer even longer. We spoke with renowned grower and aficionado Michelle Reefer (@missradreefer) about her experiences with longer term cures and she highly recommended curing for 12 weeks (see our interview here).
While that may be too long of a wait for most people, especially commercial growers, there is a noticeable difference in quality and taste. The finish is smoother and the flavor is more robust, but for a few seconds of bliss, is it really worth that wait?
For those indoor or hydro growers that are competing with outdoor growers on the open market, their reasons may be shear economics. When supply is overabundant and you want to maximize your profit, some have waited for the next season to sell a portion of their crop, which allowed them to boost their prices given that it had been cured longer and therefore had a higher value.
Similar to wineries, it’s hard to do this without having a sustainable amount of inventory for the current season, so it would be in a growers’ best interest to hedge against bad crop cycles or over-supply by stocking a small portion of reserves. Thus, a vintage market is born.
The science behind long-term curing as it pertains to terpenes is also worthy of discussion and can, in some ways, be compared to wine. Wine flavors can be categorized into three main groups: fruit/floral/herbal, spice, and earth.
In wine, terpenes are responsible for the sweet and floral smell to a resinous and herby smell. Terpenes change in types and proportions significantly during aging, and can either be accumulated from oxidation or additive terpenes, like natural oils found in our foods to enhance aroma.
The aging process is extremely slow as it pertains to oxidation, which is one of the many reasons why vintage wines are more expensive than newer wines. Although there’s not much scientific data on terpenes with respect to cannabis, one thing is for sure, age plays a significant role in enhancing these aromatic compounds, and we’ve noticed a big increase in quality over time.
For the best results, we found that using dark storage jars that block UV light like Miron® jars in a cool climate controlled room such as a basement with medium to low humidity is ideal. Make sure to burp your jars several times a week to allow oxygenation to occur, this is what allows the terpenes to change. We also used Boveda® 62% RH packs to ensure the trichomes remained sticky.