Notes from Iridesse Wines

The Buzz from Patrick & Genevieve

Iridesse Winemakers Give Wine…(Gasp!)…to their Kid!

Posted by oenophilus on February 15, 2008

European cultures have always introduced their children to wine early on. These children have learned that wine is a part of family life at table. They gradually added less wine to their water and soon they became parents who, in turn, did the same. I am of the opinion that these are families that produced kids with a much healthier attitude towards wine. I am not saying that there were no alcoholics in these families. I am not saying that these kids were immune to the call of binge drinking on Spring Break. What I do assert is that children who are introduced to wine at family dinners, have a better chance at enjoying wine as a normal, healthy part of life.

A while back, Tom Wark of FERMENTATION and the SWRA asked for our input in how we involve kids in the world of wine, which led to a contest for the cutest picture of a kid in a winery. All of this caught the attention of AP reporter Victoria Brett who followed the trail of blog comments back to my wife and me.

Several conversations later and a visit to our dinner table by an AP photographer, Victoria wrote her article. The article has already appeared in a few newspapers and blogs; Google gave me 46 relevant entries this morning! Try the link to the WRAL-TV5 website from North Carolina for a good posting and four great photos by AP photographer Eric Risberg. Victoria did a nice job of presenting the arguments and was able to synthesize our hours of conversation into a few sentences.

I look forward to the continuing conversation. It has been very lively over at Catavino as Gabriella led us in a discussion over the place of wine and winemaking in education. Be sure that you also check out the post and comments from RichardA, A Passionate Foodie. Alcohol is certainly a volatile topic (Sorry. Bad enology joke.) which can make for a minefield when we are in discourse from the point of winemakers, wine retailers, wine drinkers, and now as parents or those concerned for the welfare of children.

Again, read the AP article here and add your two glasses worth to the ongoing dialogue in the blogosphere. We all raise a glass to you!

photo by Eric Risberg, AP


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8 Responses to “Iridesse Winemakers Give Wine…(Gasp!)…to their Kid!”

  1. Doug said

    It is all well and good that different cultures approach wine consumption by children different ways.
    But, in this culture with the social pressures on children a differnt approach may be necessary.
    There is no question that while children’s brains and neuro systems are developing alcohol is a very real danger. If it is important for a family to develop their children’s palates there are a number of safer ways to do so. A child can be educated with out the use of alcoholic drinks.

    When a vintner discusses this in the newspaper he/she justifies to the public that under age drinking is somehow sophisticated and ok.

    What you do in your own family in your house may or may not be ok but to publicize it as an accomplishment publicly is irresponsible if you do not also talk about the serious consequences that drink can have health wise for children in the community.

    I also live in the wine country and have children who are being taught that it matters what they eat and drink and that there are seriouis consequences connected with what they put in their bodies as young people. Like wine it is better enjoyed with age.

  2. oenophilus said

    Doug, I think you missed the point of my post and of Ms. Brett’s article. We are not training our daughter’s palate nor are we advocating children “drinking” alcohol. We are including her in our family’s life at table.

    Our society’s kids are under no other social pressures than the kids in any other society – other than from reactionary groups that focus only on the negative in things and never the positive.

    Wine is meant to be consumed with food as part of a healthy lifestyle. In rational and appropriate amounts, it is less of a poison to children than bovine growth hormone and antibiotics in meat, pesticides on strawberries, or the unpronouncible ingredients in Twinkies. As in other rational cultures, our child drinks her wine as a splash to color her water. That is less alcohol than in sauerkraut, kim chee, or whatever else has been lurking in the back of the fridge for too long.

    Our daughter will occasionally sip a tiny bit from our glass and she will sometimes enjoy it. I doubt you will get any medical professional to measure any harm that could possibly be caused by that. As for the irresponsibility of answering a reporter’s questions about my family life? I believe it is more harmful for me not to speak about the good that can come of parents removing the taboo that will later entice teenagers to sneak away and then face serious consequences.

    Cheers!

  3. I was born into an Italian family we for generations would let kids drink a little wine from the age of about five the French also do this. This is millions of kids not just a small experiment.

    It was to teach kids at an early age the effects and the flavors, I grew up never having to sneek about drinking and getting killed driving at the same time when other kids were experimenting and hurting themselves I was not, as it was not a mysterious thing only adults did. Drinking too much was always expressed as bad and we were way more experienced and knowledgeable as a result it puts a person a generation ahead of their peers in tasting experience.

    People like Doug here above make me wonder what he thinks a parent that gives a child a little wine with water says “here get drunk and tell all your little friends too” Like what you eat and drink doesn’t matter to that parent. I think it is just a more intelligent parent that does this as this is giving the child a chance to develop taste and smell much earlier, just like language is more easily learned at a younger age. So in essence Doug in my opinion is retarding his children’s growth!

    I wonder if he has ever looked at it that way?

  4. I have visited this site on many an occasion now but this post is the 1st one that I have ever commented on.

    Congratulations on such a fine article and site I have found it very helpful and informative – I only wish that there were more out there like this one.

    I never leave empty handed, sometimes I may even be a little disappointed that I may not agree with a post or reply that has been made. But hey! that is life and if every one agreed on the same thing what a boring old world we would live in.

    Keep up the good work and cheers.

  5. […] Iridesse Winemakers Give Wine…(Gasp!)…to their Kid! (iridessewines.wordpress.com) […]

  6. Patrick, I commend you for your great post. Born in France and having moved to the United States as a young child and being part of my family’s cultural life at the dinner table every night, my father would give my sister and I a 2 oz. pour and dinner was started. Until one night when a friend was over for dinner and saw this happening. The parents called the home & school association and that never happened again. Fortunately for me, I’m head-on in the wine industry. Unfortunately for too many americans, they don’t understand what the meaning of family culture is all about and alcohol vs. kids is too scary for them. That’s my take. I may be wrong, but I lived it. And your right Patrick, it’s necessary and it’s important.

    Cheers.

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