New California law allows students to taste wine in class
California college students under the age of 21 will be able to taste wine in class, if they are enrolled in a beer brewing or winemaking program, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown who signed a measure for the same into law on Monday.
The law addresses concerns that California's leading enology and viniculture schools are missing a key element by not allowing minor students to sample their alcoholic coursework. The University of California has been forced to cater its program to the underage drinking prohibition by not allowing students to taste alcohol before their final semester, when he/she attains the legal drinking age of 21 years.
Many other states like Oregon and Washington allow minors to sample their alcoholic coursework, but California is among some of the states that do not allow, despite the fact that the state is one of the world's leading wine and beer producers.
Andrew Waterhouse, a professor of enology at University of California Davis, said, "Not being able to get started with tasting during school is a big handicap. It's our job here to teach them these things."
Waterhouse is one of those experts who testified in support of the so-called sip and spit law at a hearing on the bill.
Even the new law, which will take effect from next academic year, will not allow students of winemaking and brewing under the age of 18 to taste alcohol. Moreover, students can state and not swallow their respective drinks under the supervision of their instructors.
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