A bill allowing underage students enrolled in an enology or brewing program to taste wine in a classroom setting was signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown on July 21. It will take effect Jan. 1.
The law, dubbed ‘sip and spit,’ will allow California public university students enrolled in these programs to taste wine if the class curriculum requires it. The students will only be allowed to taste the wine, not consume it.
Cal Poly wine and viticulture department head Marianne Wolf was excited about the opportunities made possible by the law.
“We are thrilled,” Wolf said.
According to Wolf, the wine and viticulture department plans on allowing underage students into classes that require them to taste wine as soon as the law takes effect in January. This means these students can register for the classes during winter quarter registration.
Cal Poly wine and viticulture senior Shannon Leary was one of those involved in vouching for the law when it was still an Assembly bill.
Leary traveled to an Assembly committee meeting back in May to testify in favor of the bill.
Leary’s main reasons for support were that the bill would allow Cal Poly students to graduate sooner — as they could take the taste test classes early — and it would help them be more competitive in the field when they graduate.
The ‘sip and spit’ bill was originally introduced by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) to the California Assembly as Assembly Bill 1989. It passed the Assembly with a 73-2 vote and the Senate with a unanimous 36-0 vote.
Similar laws have already been passed in 12 states, including Oregon and Washington.