California May OK Wine Tasting for Students, at Farmer’s Markets
It wouldn’t make much sense to prohibit a young culinary student from tasting his or her latest creation but in California, at least, students pursuing degrees in winemaking and brewing can learn everything about their chosen profession. . . except how their wine or beer tastes.
That all may soon change, however, if the California state senate okays a bill already approved by the state assembly that will allow students from age 18 to 20 who are enrolled in college viticulture and brewing courses at several state universities and community colleges to taste wine or beer as part of their studies. As long as they spit.
AB 1989—aka, the “sip and spit” bill—will place California in the company of a dozen other states that have already passed similar legislation, a seeming no-brainer given the wine industry’s importance to the state economy and reputation. The bill is equally important to underage enology students too, who are shut out of many courses—not to mention the most effective way to recognize many elements of wine—until they turn 21.
Wine producers also may get a bit of a break from another bill before the California state senate. AB 2488 would allow wineries that grow 100 percent of their grapes that go into their wines or hard ciders to offer tastings at farmer’s markets. Currently, vintners can sell their wares at the ever-popular markets but are prohibited from giving potential customers a taste, thus discouraging consumers leery of buying a wine without the chance to sample it beforehand.
While some vintners and wine-friendly organizations find AB 2488 too restrictive, a group of latter-day Carrie Nations called Alcohol Justice seems to be sharpening its hatchets, fervently opposing both that and the “sip and spit” bill.
These folks must be a lot of fun at parties.