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Good Idea or Bad Idea: Introducing Children to Wine at a Young Age?

I have always been fascinated by how differently European children develop attitudes toward alcohol. Growing up in America, I heard tales of young French girls sipping champagne at special functions, and Italian gals tasting vino at big family dinners.

The Food & Wine blog recently highlighted this topic with Gabriella Opaz's article about taking her kindergarten class to a winery in Northern Spain.

The article discusses the positive effect exposure to alcohol can have on kids. Here's a short excerpt:

Winemaking here is the equivalent to corn harvesting in the Midwest. It is so integrated into the culture that if you yourself do not have a direct connection to winemaking, I guarantee that someone in your family does.

Therefore, taking a group of children on an excursion to see how wine is made is not dangerous, frightening or a form of mind-corruption as it might be seen in the States. It is merely a part of the everyday life here in Catalonia.

Rather than teach children the evils of wine, they are taught to respect and understand all aspects of wine and the winemaking process. While I don't condone underaged drinking, I do think visiting a winery is a fascinating lesson for any age. What do you think?


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