I started studying wine when I was 23 through a Sommelier program called WSET (Wine and Spirits Educational Trust) and the Court of Masters. I did for six to seven years. When I was 32, after working for a couple of restaurants, I ended up working for the Charlie Palmer Restaurant Group as their Wine
Director. I was responsible for managing a million dollar wine program consisting of over 1,000 bottles from around the world. In addition, I would train our staff, host wine tasting events, private dinners, all while making sure we were being profitable. I was blessed to be featured in Riviera Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine on behalf of the restaurants successes.
In 2013, a few good friends of mine were starting to gain recognition in the e-liquid world with what was then a small company called Space Jam.
Along the way I began to teach wine classes at the restaurant, which became very popular. During one of the classes I was approached by a higher up who worked for the Irvine Company, which owns most of the luxury apartment communities in Orange County, California. They presented an opportunity for me to teach my format of wine classes at some of their communities. This led to the creation of Danny’s Wine, which I still do two to three times a month as a fun side gig.
Knowing my experience in the wine world and my abilities to taste, smell and blend wine, they asked if I was interested in dabbling with making flavors that they could possibly use. I started just like anyone else by coming up with recipes and learning from the mistakes. Coming up with a new recipe would take me 20-30 attempts. Nowadays I can almost visualize the percentages and the outcomes in my head. During this process my good friend left Space Jam and in 2015 we ended up creating the brand Verdict Vapors. Verdict Vapors has grown into MEGA E-Liquids and our newest line Mints Vape Co. The brand in total consists of 17 flavors, with the most notable award winning Best Dessert – Apple Crumb, Best Coffee – Coffee & Donuts, and Best Cereal Rainbow Cookies. The vape industry has been unique and challenging to say the least. Being a part of an industry that had no regulations and had so much rapid grow helps you learn a lot of decision making and whether to be proactive or reactive. We have learned more than money could ever buy and continue to push forward as long as possible.
Being in the restaurant industry for a long period of time allowed me to meet a ton of great people and experience some amazing opportunities. One of my regulars was a food and wine connoisseur who would always call me up when he was in the area. Randomly, one Wednesday night I was feeling a bit down from a recent break up and decided to reach out to him. He was just about to leave for a private dinner at a restaurant in Beverly Hills that had recently remodeled called Crustacean. They were doing a friend and family dinner to train their wait staff and kitchen before fully opening to the public. I decided to join him. During dinner I had the pleasure of meeting the owners. I mentioned that I used to work for Charlie Palmers and coincidentally they were a bit behind on their wine program. I asked if I could be of assistance. The entire process took a lot longer than any of us had expected, but through it I met Gordon Clune, whose wife’s family also created the restaurant. Through small talk Gordon had asked me about the vape company, which led into CBD/hemp. At the time I had just started the early design stages for ERTH with logo and brand development. Gordon was actually developing relationships with available land and grow areas for hemp farming, and so we went into the business together.
I started to build the brand and product offerings while Gordon secured property. We ended up launching ERTH early 2018 with five vape flavors, three tinctures, our bacon pet drops and full spectrum softgels. We continued to slowly add new products like our nano emulsified water soluble tinctures, THC free tinctures,and our line of topical face serum, body butter, foot cream, massage oil and pain stick. From the beginning we always knew that the source of our raw materials was most important and that transparency and trace-ability were going to be our foundation. All of our products are
currently made in-house, and with our of the heating, blending, mixing, labing,
and filling in our clean room. I am a firm believer in controlling as many aspects of the manufacturing process as possible. Currently the only thing we
have to rely on is the source of our CBD isolate, Full Spectrum Distillates and
In April of 2019, after Gordon’s hard at work securing acreage, we got the ball rolling with the farm. We are currently the only ones growing hemp in this location so we prefer to keep it a secret, as the growing conditions are nearly perfect. We have artesian well water, high elevation and mountains surrounding us acting as a rain shadow, and desert-like conditions that offer warm days and cool nights, which allow the plants to rest and refresh for the next day. The process began with a half pivot section totaling 60 acres, which was divided into blocks. We then focused on three strains that we felt could do
well in our micro-climate and soil type. We ended up seeding a total of 120,000 seeds selected from two different suppliers. With seed on the ground we began focusing on creating the best nutritional program to not only bring out the highest amount of CBD content, but also the highest terpene levels. To our surprise, our nutritional program created a high amount of additional vegetation growth in between our plants where it pushed our team to manually de-weed and maintain our flower fully organic. We had to get the right personnel in place willing to make the sacrifice to basically live on a farm.
After months of vegetative growth, dealing with weeds, and controlling hemp-eating rabbits, we realized the potential market for premium smokable
flower. So we changed the nutritional program to produce the best premium
smokable flower possible. To ensure the highest quality hemp, our team selected, cut, cured, and processed every plant by hand, using our newly acquired hoophouses to cure and process nearly 1,000 lbs of premium
With the integration of our hoophouses, Eco Holdings can now grow year round smokable flower and has begun its seed program in collaboration
with Erth Hemp to create the best possible genetics that will showcase certain terpenes and potency levels in accordance to our clients’ desires. We are very proud to have premium sellable nugs on top of our extractable flower, having proved that outdoor hemp can be grown in the desert.
With Eco Holdings focusing on the outdoor hemp growth, Gordon secured 11,000 sq ft. of manufacturing space in North Las Vegas to build a state of the art, closed loop ethanol extraction facility with a daily extraction capacity of 3,000 lbs per day. This facility will also contribute to the manufacturing of all smokable flower, pre-rolls, water soluble and any new products we develop. With an opening date of December 2019, Nevada Erth Extraction is the final piece to creating a fully vertically integrated CBD company, where Erth Hemp and Eco Holdings can control the full product line from genetics to consumer, thus opening a whole new era of in-house grown Erth Hemp CBD products.