Text Size:-+

Letting Kids Drink Some Wine at Home: The Debate

If you haven't seen it already, I heartily encourage you check out an excellent article and blog post by Eric Asimov over the last couple of days about letting kids drink wine at home.

As you might expect, this is a pretty heated topic in our moralistic American society, with people expressing strong feelings about whether or not it is OK to let kids have a little wine at home with dinner. Eric's blog post has received well over 300 comments already and I'm sure the discussion will continue.

Like on many issues, we Americans seem all to quick to paint a black and white picture when it comes to answering this question: ether it's OK, or it's not. Eric does an excellent job exploring the spectrum of gray between those two points of view, though he and his wife still haven't figured out yet just how to approach this with their teenage sons.

Those who know me well won't be surprised to find that I don't think there is a specific answer to this question. It depends. It depends on so many things that it's almost silly to suggest that there is a general answer that can be made independent of any one family's specific situation.

So all I can do is talk about how I will make the decision when my first child starts noticing that Dad spends a lot of time, energy, and attention on that brightly colored liquid in his glass.

I will start giving my kid(s) extremely watered down wine when they get old enough to express an interest in what Ruth and I are drinking at the table. As they get older, if they're interested in learning about the differences between wines, I will give them sips of the stuff, and let them taste with me if they are willing to spit.

And finally when they are old enough to be interested in having a glass with dinner, but are still under 21, I will let them have a glass if I think they are responsible enough to:

- Not think alcohol is anything special
- Want to drink wine for its flavors rather than its effects
- Understand what alcohol does to their judgment
- Safely make decisions about where, when, and how much they drink when not at home

Studies (cited in Eric's article) may suggest that there may be a correlation between families who allow a little alcohol consumption in the controlled environment of the home and a reduction in likelihood for binge drinking or alcoholism. There's not clearly enough clinical evidence yet to say for sure. But I do firmly believe that throughout history we have been shown definitive proof that outlawing anything that humans enjoy putting in their bodies is never a solution for moderating its use.

I'd rather my kids think of wine as an everyday part of a meal, than think of it as forbidden fruit.

Read the full article and blog entry.

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

I'll Drink to That: Karen MacNeil The Most Untrustworthy Wine in the World Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 11/22 I'll Drink to That: CP Lin of Erewhon Warm Up: New Zealand's South Island I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud