Outrage of the Week: Law Forbids Kids to Witness Wine Tasting

This is just too weird: Maine passed a law, about to take effect, that forbids stores from allowing any “child” to witness a wine, beer or liquor tasting. According to this piece  on the Maine Public Broadcasting Website:

…as of September 12th, the law will add new restrictions, designed to assure that wine tastings are conducted in a manner that “precludes the possibility of observation by children.”  Hudson [a wine shop owner] says she was unclear what that meant, so she asked a liquor inspector whether she could simply draw the blinds over her doors and windows during a wine tasting.

She says initially she was told no, as an under-aged passerby still might be able to catch a glimpse.  “If a door opened, even though there was a blind on the door, if a door opened in such a way that a child walking by — and a child is defined as someone under 15 — would be walking by and happened to glance in, they might be able to look into the store at that moment when the door is open and see an adult with a glass of wine in their hand.”

Imagine the life-long trauma of that!

Then it turns out the sponsor of the bill didn’t intend this to be the case — he only wanted to prevent kids from witnessing beer and liquor tastings in GROCERIES.

Like, uh, that makes more sense? No one under age 15 should see an adult taking a sip of alcohol? Because we elected the Taliban, fair and square?

I guess this guy assumes kids shouldn’t  pass any bars, either. Or turn on the TV. Or read, I don’t know, Dickens? Shakespeare? Or the Illiad? Unless, that is, now it takes place on the grapejuice-dark sea…     — Lenore

63 Responses

  1. Wow. I don’t think that sort of law would work here in California.😀

  2. I really wonder if that lawmaker would throw a fit a pagan or catholic ceremony/mass where a small tasting of wine is actually given to someone under 15.

    *rolls eyes* I really wish people would stop trying to protect my child for me.

  3. WTF? Do they not allow people to drink wine in restaurants in Maine? Or do they not allow kids in restaurants, perhaps? How is that any different?

  4. Awesome. I’m going to drink wine in front of my daughter in honour of Maine tonight at dinner. If she behaves herself, she can even have some mixed with water.

  5. Does this remind anyone else of Mrs. Lovejoy warbling, “Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN?!?” Since when has any attempt to keep kids ignorant of things (sex, alcohol, anything involving any sort of risk) ever actually worked or produced positive results? Education in order to arm kids with the knowledge to make a good decision is usually a better method of protecting them than keeping them ignorant.

    Frankly, I think this country’s overly-Puritan attitude towards alcohol is partially to blame for kids/young adults going on alcohol binges as soon as they can get their hands on the stuff – what’s more intoxicating than binging on the forbidden (or in the case of the just-turned-21 crowd, the “used to be forbidden but now it’s legal so I’m going to do a ton of it whoo-hoo!”). No one talks to kids/teens about alcohol – both the positives and the negatives – because it’s assumed they’re going to abuse it at the first opportunity, or parents are paranoid that someone’s going to overreact to their allowing their kid the occasional holiday mini-glass/sips, and instead of learning that liquor, like sweets or fatty foods, is best consumed through thoughtful moderation, kids come to see drinking alcohol as a means of rebelling/breaking a social taboo.

    Attitudes like the one behind this law end up being more harmful to kids in the long-run, because it increases the forbidden fruit factor of alcohol, and intimidates parents who might otherwise talk to their kids about reasonable consumption of alcohol and demonstrate responsible drinking through their own behavior, for fear that someone might accuse them of “putting their kids in danger by exposing them to the evils of alcohol.”

    Yes, there are extenuating circumstances that might warrant a stricter regulation on one’s drinking (family history of alcoholism, emotional problems, etc), but laws like this take things to an extreme by suggesting that if a child catches a mere glance of an adult enjoying an alcoholic beverage, that child will be irrevocably damaged and doomed to a life of alcohol abuse. Children can be hurt by a lot of things, but they’re not THAT fragile.

  6. @Mimi Quite probably he would throw a fit at a pagan ceremony regardless of wine being served. Somehow I don’t see him being a beacon of tolerance.

  7. @MFA as with all things, please don’t over simplify or over generalize – some 20 year olds from all different backgrounds abuse alcohol, and some don’t…there isn’t one approach that is going to work for everyone.

    The very low income area I live and work in has many parents who provide their 7th grade and up students with alcohol, and the availability does not seem to decrease the usage in this case at all – but that is just anectdotal, so I won’t assume that is the case everywhere.

  8. Yes, I bear life-long scars from watching my parents responsibly drinking a glass of wine or beer with dinner a few nights a week. They even allowed me to take the occasional sip to see what the taste was like!

    And you know, thanks to that I never had any interest in underage drinking, or going to parties. When I went to college (I was homeschooled 10 years leading up to that) I lived off campus still, and thanks to the DAMAGE my parents wrought upon me I turned down party invites because there would be drinking, I would want to partake, and I knew I would have to drive home. At the young impressionable age of 18 I was somehow able to decide for myself not to take that risk.

    (And later that year, I got married, moved to spain, and was allowed to legally drink at age 18. Only once did I overdo it to the point of blacking out, but I was with friends, taken care of, and nothing ill came of it. I did discover my “limit” though, and have never repeated the mistake. I’m only 23 now.)

  9. Let’s spend our time and money on those things that _really_ hurt kids.

    What I find hilarious (and sad) is that in this country we worry so much about children “witnessing” things and the damage that might cause. Yet, as far as I know, the only thing which actually causes someone _damage_ to witness is violence and suffering. And (in my opinion, and several studies) it has to be real, or realistic enough to be interpreted by the brain as real. (i.e. alien-killing computer games generally won’t do it).

    Most kids see drunk adults, adults smoking pot, or even might see two adults having sex (because SOMEONE forgot to lock the door!). And really, although they might be embarassed or disgusted, few are going to say they were truly damaged. They might joke to their friend that “they were naked, I was so totally _traumatized_” but really, they’ll be fine.

    Now, compare that to someone who witnesses a violent crime. That changes you, and nearly always for the worse.

    Let’s assume kids will be OK if they see adults in public drinking wine and spend the resources preventing just one kid from having to watch one person hurt another.

  10. Good grief.

    Yes, let’s not allow children to witness adults drinking a moderate amount of alcohol in a responsible manner. Instead, let’s continue telling them that the only purpose of drinking alcohol is to get ridiculously wasted, then wring our hands in a few years when they start going out and doing exactly that.

  11. Are you KIDDING me? Crikey.

    I am so weary of this attitude that children are going to be corrupted if they see alcohol. The sponsor and supporters of that bill would be completely horrified by my family.

    All four of us – Monsters included – volunteer in a winery. And all four of us have wine with our dinner every single night. Guess I’d better start saving up for those therapy bills.

  12. This strikes me as a classic example of a common false equivalance: the idea that if you don’t want someone (typically your kid) doing something, the way to ensure that is to keep them from being exposed to that something. For example, when I was reading reviews of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I saw a number of people regretting that Molly Weasley called Bellatrix Lestrange a “bitch” after she tried to kill Ginny Weasley, saying that they don’t want their kids using that kind of language. Well that latter goal is perfectly reasonable, but it simply can’t be achieved by keeping kids ignorant. They’re going to hear such language no matter what. In fact, that scene is a perfect teaching moment: you tell your kid “you can call a woman a bitch if she tries to kill your daughter. Not for anything less than that.” (BTW, Molly’s use of profanity in that scene carries a lot of force precisely because she isn’t a pottymouth.)

    The idea that keeping kids ignorant (“innocent”) of a behavior will keep them from engaging in it is an example of what’s known in the security business as “security through obscurity.” And in the security business, that phrase is inevitably followed by “…is no security at all.”

  13. That is so bass-ackwards! Children NEED to see examples of responsible drinking so that they can become responsible drinkers themselves. It is creating this artificial shield which creates bing drinkers in later life. Here in Ontario Canada, the law says that a parent may serve a child alcohol in their own home at any age. This allows for religious and ethnic traditions, but of course still allows social services to take children away if the parent is giving the child a 6 pack every night.

  14. I have fond memories of going to wine tastings as a child throughout the Napa and Sonoma Valley regions – it didn’t make me an alcoholic.

    It is more important to teach your children well then to keep them ignorant. If you completely shield children from things – alcohol, candy, etc – they are only going to find their own ways to get at them and won’t know that you can enjoy them without over doing it.

  15. Oh dear. My almost 2 year old daughter loves going to the “bottle store” and seeing tastings. She knows the kind of beer my husband drinks and helps when we brew!
    I think we are raising kids responsibly by not hiding our lives from them.

  16. I go to several beer tastings a year and take my boy with me most of the time. Its a restaurant & microbrewery & he LOVES it. He knows the beer is for me (and my best friend who usually goes with us), and has asked for a taste. I’d say the taste made him less likely to binge because he wasn’t forbidden and he thought the beer was nasty. But if he weren’t even allowed to witness me drinking responsibly, he wouldn’t be able to learn by example (we usually took a cab or walked to my friend’s house) and he wouldn’t be able to have his favorite pizza. And THAT’s a crime!

  17. My college roommate got drunk tagging along behind her parents at a wine tasting when she was 6. And you know what? Never drank alcohol again.

    She was allowed, by the way, to have small sips of the wine (no one realized that she was actually draining glasses…) because she’s Catholic, so small sips of wine were nothing new. I wonder how the Maine law interacts with communion. Because *that* could be hilariously fail.

  18. Oh my goodness. I wish we (in New York State) had the Ontario law. It sounds so sensible . . .

  19. “Or do they not allow kids in restaurants, perhaps?”
    I’m moving there tomorrow… ;P

  20. BTW, Does anyone else have pics of their kids as babies sucking on a beer bottle with dad? Cuz I’ve done that with both my girls, so lock me up!

  21. I was at a wedding once and a four year old girl (a family friend) got drunk by wandering around polishing off small amounts of champagne left in glasses. Needless to say her parents (a medical professor and a nurse) were rather embarrassed.

    She’s now a gorgeous 40 year old woman, without any problems with alcohol.

  22. I was out with my husband, our son, my sister, and her two kids (then 8 and 12). She had ordered this mixed drink, and we were sharing it (hubby was driving home). The bar at Medieval Times had NOT been stingy with the alcoholic portion of the drink. But it was pretty and frozen and her kids wanted a taste. So did mine, but he was two, and I said simply, “Not this time.” However, she let her kids have a sip- “Just a sip, it’s strong.” she warned them. You know what? They both made terrible faces and said they didn’t know how we could drink that stuff. They were happy not to have any more. She could have told them no. They would have accepted it at face value. By telling them yes, they were able to find out for themselves that they didn’t like it- far lessening their chances of trying to sneak alcohol at some later date and drinking it for the thrill of the forbidden even though the taste might be unappealing.

    Seriously, does any sane person think that just because a child can’t see a behavior, he or she is too stupid to know what’s going on? Don’t the well-meaning legislators know that hiding something only makes it more of a curiosity? Do they just not remember being young?

  23. I took my kids wine-tasting at a vineyard in France this summer. They had lots of fun dipping their finger into my glass, licking it, and then making pronouncements about the wine: “a bit too fruity”, “like vinegar” !! At least there are some sensible places left on the planet….How did a law like that ever get passed anyway?

  24. Like you, Sonya, I find it interesting to compare North American attitudes towards wine to those in Europe.
    I’ll never forget a night in a small restaurant in Siena, italy when a father with 3 tween/teen daughters was ordering the house wine and asked the waiter if the girls were allowed to have some. The waiter looked utterly confused and said “but…..you are the father?….” His english wasn’t perfect but the meaning was obvious: “isn’t this a decision for the parents to make, not some stranger?”
    I always laugh when I remember that.

  25. What happened to teaching children to be responsible drinkers. Forbidding wine and beer just makes it more desirable. Anyone remember prohibition?

  26. I live in Maine, and this is the first I heard of this new law. Apparently they will be redrafting it in the next session to be more clear and exclude wine shops, but I’m a bit surprised that it was passed at all. Maine isn’t usually so puritanical. We leave that to New Hampshire.

  27. @ Sara

    I didn’t mean to over-generalize and I do apologize if it came off that way. Of course there are a myriad of factors that determine how people look at alcohol – education levels, economic class, region of the country, etc. Sometimes strict prevention works for some circumstances, sometimes a more relaxed approach works. I know my view is definitely colored by how my parents raised me and by the fact that among the people I know, many of them attribute their healthy attitudes towards alcohol to the fact that their parents never made it strictly forbidden, although if they ever did get drunk at a party or acted irresponsibly, their parents did NOT let them get away with it.

    However, I think there’s a difference between parents allowing their kids an occasional sip or glass of wine/beer at a party where they are being supervised as a method of removing the “forbidden fruit temptation” from alcohol and parents providing a ready supply of alcohol to their kids without keeping an eye on them or teaching them how to drink responsibly.

    I do think that the prevailing attitude in this country seems to err on the side of preventing kids from even knowing about anything that could be a risk, rather than talking about things openly and teaching them how to make responsible decisions. It’s a bit like saying to keep kids from playing with fire we’re going to make it illegal for adults to start a flame where kids might see them doing so, rather than teaching kids why it’s not safe to play with matches, what the consequences of irresponsible behavior around fire are (injury, damage to property/land, possible death, etc.) and how to properly manage an open flame in a fire pit or BBQ or what-have-you.

    @ Tana –

    I completely agree. Do these people not remember the story of Pandora’s Box? You don’t get to make something forbidden and then act surprised when that something becomes even more appealing because it is forbidden.

    Hopefully the experience has lessened the appeal of drinking for the kids. I can tell you that after my dad allowed me to take a sip of his whiskey when I was 9, it was AWFUL (and my dad was a liquor snob, so I know he was drinking quality whiskey) and I couldn’t bring myself to touch the stuff again until I was well into my 20s.

  28. @ CK –
    “Maine isn’t usually so puritanical. We leave that to New Hampshire.”

    That’s pretty funny, actually – I spent 10 years in Boston and remember how before they allowed liquor stores open on Sundays in MA, we’d make the 1 hr drive over the border to get beer. Seriously, there was a liquor depot just over the NH/MA border on 95N (pretty sure it was the same on 93N too).

  29. @Blotz – I have a few of those of my son especially right around St. Patty’s Day with a Guinness Bottle.

  30. And to think I only had a baby because I want a serf to mix my cocktails for me. How old does she have to be before she’ll remember it’s one part vermouth to three parts bourbon?

  31. @MFA Grad

    I know; I was mostly just being snarky. But Maine is usually pretty hands-off on personal responsibility lawmaking, so this one surprised me.

  32. Rachel — Texas allows the underage to drink as long as they are with their parents. So, for example, you could let you kids have a small glass of wine at Thanksgiving dinner, or whatever, and it’s perfectly legal! (how refreshingly parent-friendly!) Or, of course, if you’re under 21 and you’re married to someone who is over.

    Mrs. H — Have you read the Three Martini Playdate? ;D

    Blotz — I have one of my dad letting my son taste his champagne on New Years’. Heck, I’m sure I’m horrible for letting a one year old stay up until midnight…

  33. My impression is that whenever someone says, “I don’t want my kids to see that!”, what they are really saying is “I don’t want to see that” and are only using kids as an excuse.

  34. Stories of kids accidentally getting drunk and surviving:

    I remember being 5 and really liking the brownies at a party. It was a really mellow party. Or, at least I was unusually mellow.

    And you know what? I didn’t turn into a raving lunatic. In fact, I don’t even happen to drink alcohol.

  35. So I guess they never heard of Jewish adolescents drinking wine on holidays?

  36. Lavender: Exactly what I was going to say. I’m allergic to wine, but most of the Jewish kids I know over the age of about 10 are allowed to have small amounts of wine on Shabbat and moderate amounts on holidays. By 15 all of them are allowed as much as the adults during Pesach (which, for those of you who don’t know, can be up to five glasses depending on what style of Seder you believe in and how often you opt for juice instead of wine). So far I’ve known of one incident where the teen didn’t know her limits — and she certainly knew them by the next year.

  37. That reference to Mrs. Weasley in Harry Potter #7: NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH! has extra punch just because she is usually the soul of rectitude, trying valiantly to keep some semblance of order in the Weasley household. Just don’t get on her “fightin’ side” as Bellatrix found out the hard way. I look forward to seeing this scene in the movie–that one last “Oh !#$%&!!” look on Bellatrix’s face as Molly’s curse finds the target and then Game Over!
    Getting back to the topic at hand, children seeing adults drinking alcohol, what about TV shows with beer commercials? Football season is coming!

  38. Let me see. . . I have lived in the close presence of an alcoholic uncle for all of my life (there is a video of me when I was something like four years old, and he’s in it with a beer), I have watched movies and television involving drinking (and gratuitous violence) ever since I was 7, and I witnessed my grandmother at a wine tasting when I was in my early teens.

    I’ve only ever had one drink in my life, and that doesn’t exactly count since it was one sip of gin that I despised so much that I couldn’t drink the rest. Then again, I also have a family history of alcoholism that I’d like to avoid. I guess I have been scarred for life and just don’t know it yet, right?

  39. To defend MFA, that was the first thjing I thought of too. I spent two weeks touring Canada with kids from all over the world in high school. It was funny to see the difference between the US kids and almost everyone else. Our kids couldn’t wait to got out and get hammered whereas the Europeans didn’t get the big attraction. They would have a beer or two and that was it. They also couldn’t understand why the bars were so dark and dingy. Pubs where they come from are open and airy and all sorts of people gather there at all times of the day. I noticed a huge difference in attitudes toward drinking. It madde an impression that I have never forgotten.

    On another note, we read a wonderful book about a Jewish family with 5 girls as part of our history a few years ago. I cannot think of the name of it but the library has it. The girls had to drink wine as part of their religious customs. My kids loved the book, even my son though it was about 5 little girls.

  40. I grew up watching my entire family drink, especially when we all got together for the holidays or other special occasions.
    — My paternal grandmother gave me sips of her whiskey and water when I was a toddler, and rubbed whiskey on my gums when I was teething. (I’m told I didn’t care for it.)
    — My paternal grandfather was a bartender, and visiting him at the bar where he worked (always in my dad’s company, of course,) was a special treat. Dad would sit at the bar and have a beer or two, while I was sent to a table to eat a chocolate bar and drink Shirley Temples.
    — My dad sometimes gave me sips of his beer. I thought it was horrible then, and I still think so now.
    — My maternal grandfather had a fondness for elderberry wine, and would occasionally pour a small amount into a glass for me. I liked it a little bit, but still not very much.
    — When I took my first communion, and every time after that until I switched churches as an adult, I shuddered whenever I had to down that tiny, thimble-sized glass of wine. I still don’t like wine very much unless it’s mixed into a punch, and I opt for grape juice when taking communion at my current church, because they offer both.
    — When I was about 8 or 9, my stepfather taught me how to mix his after-work martinis for him, and once even allowed me to find out for myself that the nasty gin-and-vermouth concoction might smell like a soda, but it does NOT taste like one!

    Now that i’m grown, I do indulge in the occasional mixed drink when we go out to dinner. I love a good margarita now and then. But I have never been drunk in my life…only been buzzed once or twice…and I’ll be 34 next month.

    I like to think I’m a fairly well-adjusted adult, who has a healthy understanding of what alcohol can do to a person who drinks too much of it. I highly doubt that I could have come to that conclusion without a certain amount of trial-and-error if I hadn’t been exposed to it the way I was. Not that I recommend that all adults immediately go out and get hammered for the benefit of their kids…I just don’t think it’s as harmful for kids to witness alcohol consumption by adults as certain lawmakers in Maine appear to believe it is.

  41. Haha, Kim. I agree completely. I never had a drink before I was 24 years old because I did not want to act stupid like the adults in my life did when they drank. I still like to be the sober one at parties because it’s more fun to laugh at the drunken antics than to deal with the hangover in the morning. Of course, 2 of my siblings began drinking a young age so I guess it depends on the person.

  42. Quick! Everyone lock up their Bibles. With all that wine drinking in it, it’s sure to warp our children for life.

  43. Fabulous. Let’s teach our kids that a responsible adult having an alcoholic beverage is wrong. Let’s teach them that we must hide away in the corner of the liquor department to have a sample is “dirty” and “immoral,” thus enforcing the idea that having an alcoholic beverage of any kind and size is naughty, and that even once they have attained adulthood they will never be prepared to make the decision to have an alcoholic beverage (or not).

    Parents are having their right to teach their children responsible behavior taken away. Absolutely ludicrous.

    Delia: Love it!! You’re on the money!

  44. I wonder if this silly law has something to do with liquor licenses. Here in NJ, alcolhol can only be sold in liquor stores unless you are a winery and are selling your wares. (I’m not positive, but it goes something like that.) Grocery stores can’t sell alcohol unless of course the grocery store has a liquor license as well as a separate room/entrance to the wine/beer section from the grocery store.

    So…in my rather long winded way…what I bet this is all about is elected officials figuring out how to “handle” alcohol drinking/selling in a place that does not have a liquor license. Perhaps the first thing to come to mind is preventing children from “seeing” it happen. I guess the feeling is that if kids don’t see the alcohol being consumed/or tasted in a facility without a liquor license then it isn’t really wrong…

    Or something. When I lived and taught in Spain, the school served wine at the student/parent Back to School Night. Very nice!

  45. MaeMae,

    I believe the book you’re thinking of is All Of A Kind Family. Wonderful book. My daughter read it a hundred times, and was annoyed to find out that we were Catholic and not Jewish.

  46. Good thing I don’t live in Maine because I drink a glass of wine with dinner in front of my kids several nights a week. And since I usually buy it while I’m out grocery shopping, my kids have been shopping with me when I’ve picked up the wine at the store. And like most others commenting here, I think we need to show the kids responsible adult behavior. We shouldn’t have to hide behind closed doors acting as if tasting wine in front of children is some horrible, shameful act. And we wonder why so many kids engage in binge drinking in college. They’ve been so sheltered and haven’t had responsible adult behavior modeled to them. Ridiculous!

  47. This reminds me of this saying:

    “What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?”

    Chief Wiggum to Ralph, about the closet he keeps his riot gear in

  48. Especially for older children, it’s not like they don’t already know or can imagine what’s going on, and that they’re legally not allowed to participate, so what exactly is stopping these children from seeing the actual wine tasting supposed to achieve–especially when the store probably has a sign up over its blinds, saying “wine tasting, 6 pm?”

    This is ridiculous.

    If responsible adults are forbidden from modeling responsible adult behavior to a 15-year-old, how will the kids know what responsible adult behavior is? Beer ads and highschool/college keg parties aren’t interested in modeling responsible adult behavior.

    Not only will children grow up with no idea how to enjoy alcohol responsibly, but worse, they won’t even know that the goal of drinking is to *enjoy* the drink and the company, which the end-goal of drinking (and eating) in the first place.

    My parents served me little sips of liqour and wine at special events (Christmas, Thanksgiving, family parties) and I grew up enjoying these times. The one time I had too many glasses of wine at Thanksgiving and had to walk to and perform my part-time job with a headache, I learned what my limits were and learned to take responsibility for how my own actions had an impact on my responsibilites. Now I have a drink maybe once every few months and enjoy learning about how to make cocktails for friends and BBQs.

  49. I am a Maine-native, and public health professional who specializes in chronic disease prevention and health promotion and I can’t, for one minute, understand what people assume the purpose of such a ban can be. The idiocy of such a ban only places greater burdens on adults and business owners. If you don’t want your children in a store where wine tasting is occurring, which is most likely a facility that caters to such persons, don’t bring your kids along! Arg.

  50. Blame the MADD crowd for this. They are a bunch of tyrants running around trying to control our lives.

  51. @MFA grad — you obviously have no idea how much beer John Winthrop & co brought over to get Boston started in the first place. (see Wordy Shipmates by S. Vowell.)

    Long live us real-wine-communion Presbyterians and our god-fearing kids who join in — we’re the real Puritans!

  52. Wow, what a colossal joke!

    Our county public school system here in Maryland just fired a beloved High School softball coach for having an end of the year party at his house for the softball team AND their parents. Well, low and behold, a parent brought their own alcohol (not sure if beer, wine or what) and horrors, drank it while at the party! That’s it. No fights, no child molestation, no wild shenanigans took place, no fisticuffs. The parents and students socialized, had a good time and went home peacefully.

    This highly admired coach then lost his job for having alcohol at what was considered a school sponsored event. Although he did not provide it, a parent brought it. To boot, he never even had a drink that night!

    This made FOX news and other media outlets, so perhaps with all the hubbub, he will get his job back. But it is just a travesty that “rational” adults are making these insane decisions.

    Cheers!

  53. Darn it! My husband and I were seriously going to haul the kiddies to the local wineries this weekend. Now I have to rethink the whole thing. Oh please! We drink wine for dinner a few times a week in their presence…should we ask them to leave the table? Should I set up a partition? Should I make a special trip to the grocery store without them when I purchase wine?

  54. Ah, prohibition. Every time we turn away for a minute it rears its ugly head. Not surprisingly here we have another “what about the children” excuse. Man we can justify just about any stupid or dangerous law when it’s “for the children”, can’t we🙂 Here’s an idea for a law: for the sake of the children, no law must be passed that would make us look like moralizing asses, thereby discrediting the legitimacy of our form of government to the next generation.

  55. Hmm… Try getting that one through a court in Germany…

  56. […] A new Maine law forbids wine tastings that could be witnessed by children. [Free Range Kids] […]

  57. What about communion in church??

  58. I guess I completely corrupted my kids. This summer, I dragged my kids South where they joined my husband and I as we visited whiskey / bourbon distilleries that included tastings with the kids next to us, or a short distance away. (They liked the laced chocolates). Oh, and we also took their advice on which horses to bet on at the horsetrack for live races.

    However, during our family travels, everything is a teaching moment. Moderation is the key with any vice, and it provides an oppportunity to teach the history behind our heritage and a little bit of science.

  59. We have a community service ad on tv in Australia all about the dangers of not only drinking in front of your children but asking them to go and get you a beer from the refrigerator. I guess my 6yo son is damaged for life as the other day, after a dinner party with another family, he climbed up to the kitchen cupboard to get himself a wine glass into which he poured his grape juice and announced in an affected voice “Oh, what a lovely wine this is!”.

    Oh and MN Mom, my husband also sometimes gets the kids to help pick horses for him to place bets on. I figure it is a good math lesson for them working out the odds and things. 😉

  60. Yeah, just a historical note: “puritanical” is the WRONG word to describe people who have an irrationally uptight attitude toward alcohol (and toward a lot of things, for that matter.) The Puritans knew how to enjoy a lot of good things, they just had strong beliefs about how it should be done.

  61. Oh, dear. I live in Denmark, thankfully, where we are trending the same way, but have not gone completely nuts (yet).
    In a store I would normally offer my kid to taste a sip of the wine on offer along with me.
    What I do not get is that the politicians seem to think that parents can’t make these decisions responsibly. They seem to be legislating for complete morons.

  62. I’m just now discovering this site, and am looking through old posts. This one amused me. We recently attended a wine tasting at a winery owned by a young couple with two small children. The wife conducted the wine tasting while wearing the infant, with the toddler in a bouncy chair nearby. Amazing that that would be illegal in Maine.

  63. I remember when I had an infant I went to purchase one of those tiny bottles of bourbon for a dessert I was preparing. I wasn’t allowed to bring the baby into the liquor store because it was under 21! I had to inconvenience a stranger to hold baby outside while I made my purchase. Some people have no idea of the “spirit of the law”, probably because of draconian rulings.

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