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California Bill Would Let Underage Students Sample Wine In College Courses

DAVIS (CBS13) — A bill that would allow underage students to sample wine as part of their studies is a step closer to passage.

Students taking a course in winemaking currently can't taste the fruits of their labor, but UC Davis is out to change the rules by co-sponsoring a new bill.

"This bill would allow us to provide students with wine to taste, and they could taste it without any legal consequences," said wine chemist Andrew Waterhouse.

Notice how he said taste, not guzzle, gulp, or even swallow. The bill isn't a free pass to let underage students drink. There's a reason they call it the sip and spit bill.

Currently, underage students taking any winemaking course on a California college campus can only sniff. But what the knows knows goes only so far as students can't distinguish the taste.

The proposed legislation would have restrictions keeping it to an academic setting and the alcohol has to be in possession of a professor at all times.

Students like 20-year-old Connor Bockman say the change is long overdue.

"I think it's a great idea," he said. "It really inhibits my ability to learn, not being able to taste these wines."

Similar legislation is on the books in 12 other states. The bill goes for an Assembly vote at the end of the month .

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