Student tasting bill moves forward

Minors studying wine and beer production in California may finally be able to taste what they produce if a new bill is passed by the state senate.

wine_glassesUntil now, winemakers, distillers and brewers and even those studying those professions who are under 21 are not legally allowed to drink what they produce – in line with the country-wide law in the US.

However, a bill put forward by assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, known as AB1989, has been passed 70-2 by the state assembly in Sacramento and is now on its way to the Senate.

If passed there, the bill will allow eight institutions with winemaking and brewing programmes, including those at UC Davis and Fresno State, to remove age restrictions for students majoring in those subjects (though not for elective students).

Chesbro stressed that the bill only allowed minors of 18 and over but under 21 to sip and spit and would not lead to “partying” in classes.

A similar law has been adopted in both Oregon and Washington, two of the US’s biggest winemaking and brewing states.

The Washington bill (B5774) was passed last year and can be seen here. It, likewise, states that minors may taste alcoholic beverages, “for the purpose of educational training as part of the class curriculum,” and that any alcohol is “tasted but not consumed”.

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