Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

Interesting article over at the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday about kids and winery tasting rooms, i.e. whether it’s appropriate to bring your kids to wineries you visit. Dr. Vino ran a delightful series of posts on this subject, starting with a poll about whether kids should be allowed at wineries (218-80 in favor of tots tagging along with their parents in the Fields of the Grapes), with a lively discussion to boot. He then did an adorable photo contest of children at wineries, the winner to be found here in all his Cuteness. This kid will be a heart-breaker!

I voted in favor of wineries being a family friendly, not because I love having whiny kids running around the place while I’m trying to taste through a flight at a crowded counter, but because I believe that if America is ever to overcome its Puritan roots, we must Think Of The Children!

Our national subconscious revulsion toward alcoholic beverages leads us to fetishize booze for children, leading to teenage drinking patterns that only further reinforce our cultural belief that alcohol is inherently sinful and dangerous. I loved Tom Wark’s article reviewing a Chicago Sun-Times article addressing how to raise your kids to have a healthy relationship with alcohol. You should know by now that Tom’s blog Fermentation does a great job of attacking our country’s culturally institutionalized hatred of alcohol, particularly wine, regularly, and now there’s even more to be found at his new site Wine Without Borders. His comments on the ridonkulous Juanita Duggan and her work at the WSWA are priceless, really.

Think!When I was a wine distributor rep, pushing the juice all over my little territory in the Caribbean, one of my best and favorite clients would taste wines with me with her baby on her hip, behind the bar of the (closed at the hour) restaurant. Baby X was very well-mannered, and yet had great curiousity about what his mommy was paying such attention to, and would reach for the glass in her hand regularly. After being allowed to sniff the glass, if he were still obviously begging for a sip, my client would wet his lips with the interesting wine in question. I need to tell you, too, the kid had impecable taste, and he loved him some red wine!

What seemed so normal to me in the alcohol-permissive Virgin Islands would be scandalous and actionable here in the continental US, a fact which never ceases to discombobulate me. (Another aspect of alcoholic culture shock which I can’t seem to get over is that you can’t buy alcohol in Texas before noon on Sunday, which is when I usually do my weekly grocery shopping. I consistently get turned around at the checkout line, smacking my head with the palm of my hand…)

As my husband and I talk about our plans to procreate next year, I confess that I already it all planned out how I will serve my kids watered wine at the holiday table, and let them taste both the wort and the finished product from daddy’s current batch of homebrew. I really look forward to teaching them about the miraculous intersection of biology and chemistry that is wine, and take them to the wineries around my home and around the world!

I’m tempted to do a poll, but I feel like I could so easily over-use that little plug-in that I could start calling this place the Wine Poll — so I’ll make it harder for you: if you have kids, do you let them taste wine? If you don’t have kids but plan to, do you plan to let your kids taste wine? Confess all in your comment!

0 comments

  1. My children have always been allowed to taste. I have serve them wine in cordial glasses mixed with a little water since they were about 4 or so. They have learned to toast and behave appropriately with their glasses and to understand that wine and meals go together.

    Do they like the wine? Not particularly. They usually take a sip or so then pass on the remainder. My older daughter is almost 13 now and is showing more interest, but only in sweeter wines. I laugh about this because that is what I enjoyed drinkng more of when I was her age.

  2. Greatness. I’ve been reading thru your blogs since lunch! I enjoy wine and am finally going to Fredericksburg for the Holiday Trail (with 3 other girlfriends)…can’t wait to learn more about the wines from Texas!
    I agree with you….I think our children should be taught about wine and other spirits! Wine with dinner is part of the celebration of family and love….not just to go get tanked! My mother is German, and my father has German/Irish in his family tree. We lived in Europe for several years as I was growing up. There is a total different cultural belief.

    I’ve been turned away on Sunday mornings as well!!!!!!!!!! so annoying!

  3. My 5 year old likes to smell wine and look at bottles and check it out, but hasn’t expressed much interest in tasting it. The husband and I have decided that there is nothing wrong with letting our kids have a taste.

    As for Sundays — same in NY. We can’t open before noon. Though in Mass. (where I’m from), you can’t buy at all on Sundays (except during the month of December), so this was a great improvement.

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