What could be more pleasing than sun-grown cannabis from small farmers operating as a kind of cooperative in the special micro-climates found in Mendocino County, California?
How about small batches, boutique strains and instant delivery in San Francisco?
This is the backdrop to a startup, Flow Kana, that bills itself as the first to encompass all these fantastical factors in the emerging cannabis industry in California. Except that is doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, the company purchased Fetzer Winery’s 80-acre ranch and vineyards in Mendocino County. The property was listed for $3.5 million – the final sales price is unknown but is believed to be close to the asking price. The property was commercialized by Fetzer in 1968, but the winery shifted primary operations to its North Coast Winery in Hopland later as the company grew.
“Flow Kana fell in love with the property because it promotes agricultural,” said John Fetzer, former CEO of Fetzer Winery. He doesn’t see his family’s history or legacy being damaged by the transition. “It’s going to be a new beginning and great opportunity for a lot of new people.”
California has backed cannabis legalization and is on track to tax and regulate the industry starting January 1st, 2018. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.
The concept for the winery is to create the world’s first cannabis campus. According to the company: “Just as a small coffee farmer grows beans all year round and takes them to a centralized facility to get dried, roasted, processed and packaged at scale…the 80-acre, 85,000-industrial-square-foot Flow Cannabis Institute will provide a centralized location for independent cannabis farmers to test, dry, cure, trim, process, package, manufacture and distribute farm products cost effectively, and at massive scale.”
Several years ago, the company was widely billed in the media as “the world’s first farm-to-table cannabis delivery platform.” It’s a fitting description for what Flow Cana does considering it was born in the Bay area of California where software and farm-to-table products seem to be eating everything. But there is a deeper meaning to the term: According to Mother Jones, massive carbon emissions and electricity use results from the indoor growth of about one-third of America’s marijuana crop (as of 2014).
According to AngelList, the company has raised $500k (as of 2014) in seed capital, and it’s founders include Michael Steinmetz, Nick Smilgys, Diego Zimet, and Adam Steinberg.