Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Kids & Wine in America

There’s a lot of blog talk lately about whether or not to let kids have a taste of wine. I don’t have kids so maybe it is easy for me to say but I don’t think it is a negative thing to give children of a certain age a small amount of wine at the dinner table.

I grew up in an Italian family and my grandfather made wine in his basement in Connecticut – “Zinfondel” he used to label it. From the time I was about twelve, whenever we gathered for Sunday dinners, holidays, or other special occasions, I was offered a small tumbler of “Poppy’s wine” with the meal. I loved feeling like one of the “grown ups” and, besides, I was never a kid who appreciated missing out on something that others were enjoying. I remember that sometimes it made my toes warm (I guess Poppy was on to the high alcohol trend before his day) and other times it made my mouth pucker (perhaps put to better use dressing the salad.)

Either way, I think it did teach me that wine is a beverage to enjoy with a meal instead of something to gulp down at a fraternity party (that’s what beer is for – I kid, I kid!). It also taught me to appreciate wine on a deeper level and I sometimes wish that I had pursued wine as a career much earlier than I ultimately did.

Children in Italy, and other European countries, regularly drink wine with meals – or at least they used to. Somehow I get the sense that college-aged Europeans are not the party animals that many American kids let loose in universities across the U.S. are. I could be wrong but, as Alder pointed out in his Vinography blog post, making something a “forbidden fruit” has always served to make it more, not less, appealing.

Also check out Eric Asimov’s original post and weigh in. Cheers.


  1. I grew up in south of France and i've been drinking wine since i'm about 9 years old. It was cut with some water though but it helped me develop a taste or it.

    I love you blog. :-)