'Sip and spit' bill aimed at student winemakers passes Senate

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJuly 14, 2014 

Kelly Allyn, left, and Ella Johnson pour Cal Poly-produced wine at the Roll Out the Barrels event at San Luis Obispo's Mission Plaza on Thursday.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The so-called “sip and spit” bill that would allow 18-to 20-year-old students in enology and brewing science programs to taste alcohol as part of their classes resoundingly passed the state Senate and is awaiting California Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.

Assembly Bill 1989, sponsored by state Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, crafts an exemption to California's prohibition of “furnishing alcohol to a minor” by allowing students at least 18 years old to taste alcohol as part of courses they are enrolled in.

The idea for the California bill originated with Andrew Waterhouse, a professor of wine chemistry at UC Davis, who has been concerned for many years that age restrictions on tastings detracted from students' education.

The same challenge plagues the majority of the more than 350 students enrolled in Cal Poly's burgeoning viticulture program: They can't taste the very product they are learning to make.

Twelve states, including Oregon, Washington and New York, already have similar laws on the books.

The bill was submitted to Brown for his approval at 2 p.m. on July 9.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service