Monday, July 21, 2014

Sip and Spit.

I have always thought that oenology and viticulture students in the USA were at a distinct disadvantage, compared to their European peers, by not being able to taste wine in a winemaking class until they turned 21 years of age.  I actually think the whole minimum drinking age of 21 is absurd (don't get me started on that one), but handicapping future winemakers in this manner is just plain ludicrous.  Universities, like U.C. Davis here in N. California, have had to structure their oenology programmes in such a way that leaves any class that would involve tasting wine until the student's last semester - at which time the students are most likely to have come of age.  Crazy!  I can imagine the mere idea of this type of prohibition is very amusing to the French (and the Italians, and the Spanish) who have in essence had the advantage of drinking wine, and honing their palates, from a much, much younger age.  Fancy letting the French have an edge over anyone, tut, tut!
All that changed today with California Governor Jerry Brown signing AB 1989, a bill that allows students of 18-20 years old who are enrolled in an accredited college oenology programme to taste, but not swallow, wine as a part of their coursework.  The so-called sip and spit law, which is set to take effect next year, in part remedies the disparity of exactly when budding American-winemakers can begin to develop their own palates, legally.  It's a start, but methinks all adults should be treated like adults as soon as they turn 18.  I couldn't imagine not having been able to have a glass of bubbly on my 18th birthday. Thanks mum!

15 comments:

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

VG: I'm guessing this was not meant to be an essay, but very much like one. The lesson here is: They can be taught, sort of!
I didn't start drinking wine until I was 59 (talk about a handicap). I had tasted a couple growing-up, but they were so bad I thought: What's all the excitement about?
If wine was treated as food from an early age, we might not have so many problems associated with alcohol.
Though I usually only have a glass or two a day with my supper, occasionally a wine is so good, on my day off a bottle might be emptied by the end of the day. However one sip means NO driving:-)

Thomas said...

Since I was raised in an Italian-American Brooklyn world, I was introduced to wine at age 7 or so--even helped the next door neighbor winemaker...and I fondly remember when the legal drinking age was 18, which managed to get me into a neighborhood bar at age 16. We had ways...

VG: you might want to rethink the way t=you view France and Italy. Things have been getting crazy in those two countries, with wine consumption on the decline and bureaucrats on the attack. It would not surprise me if the latter does something as drastic as create a legal drinking age, which in Italy they never really had.

Thomas said...

t=? I don't know how that happened.

About Last Weekend said...

I know. It think it should realistically be 18, even though that makes me even scarder about the drink driving. However I wonder if the rules make the binge drinking even worse

(having said that in NZ its lower and kids there are really bad binge drinkers)

Learning to appreciate wine would be a good step though, surely better than wine coolers or those other mixers they drink

Vinogirl said...

NHW, Tomasso & ALW: OK, so I'm not a parent, but even if I was I'm pretty sure I wouldn't feel very different. And I know that teenagers drinking nowadays in America are more likely to possibly consider getting behind the wheel of a car, which wasn't an option for the teenage Vinogirl. My friends and I rolled in and out of several local neighbourhood pubs and then walked home. It's all about alcohol education from an early age and parents teaching kids responsibility (about everything in life). There will always be certain individuals, of any age, that will have problems with substance abuse and self-control. I just don't think delaying, for 3 years, the age at which an adult can legally consume alcohol does anything to negate the likelihood of problems occuring.
I still think American students being 3 years behind their European counterparts is a silly state of affairs.

Thomas said...

VG: I agree, and I've never been a parent either, but I do remember having been a teenager...vaguely.

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: I was a teenager once too, a responsible one :)

Thud said...

Dennis....59? you seem to have made up for lost time.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Thud: I tend to throw myself into whatever I do :-)

Thomas said...

VG: I was responsible too, but I refuse to say what for.

Lord Roby said...

Sip and Spit.....Naaah!
Swig and Swallie!

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: You survived didn't you? So all's well...

LR: I do like the "swig and swallie" version better :)

Lord Roby said...

Vinogirl...When I drink something there is only one way it is going!! LR1

phlegmfatale said...

I agree: drinking age in the USA is absurd. That being said, I recognize that we have an extremely immature culture, and if some people had their way, they'd put cushiony foam bumpers on everything so no one would get hurt. Disappointing, really, but unsurprising any more.

Vinogirl said...

Phlemmy: Everything is foamy in California, (they should rename this state Californanny).