WA bill allowing wine tasting for underage viticulture students passes House

WA bill allowing wine tasting for underage viticulture students passes House

Underage students studying viticulture and enology aren’t allowed to taste wine as part of their education, but that could soon change.

House Bill 1563 was passed by the House on Friday. The bill, authored by Rep. Bill Jenkin (R-Prosser), would allow underage students, under strict supervision of someone over 21 years of age, to taste wine as part of their curriculum.

“Anyone in the industry will tell you, tasting wine during production is key to ensuring the science, ingredients and processes are done correctly,” said Jenkin. “If a student cannot taste the product as part of the learning environment, they cannot gain the full value of choosing viticulture or enology as their major.”

Under the proposed bill, colleges and technical schools would be eligible to receive a Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) special permit allowing the tasting of alcohol by underage students enrolled in a specified program. Many local colleges and technical schools – including WSU Tri-Cities, Yakima Valley College, Walla Walla Community College, and Central Washington University – currently offer winemaking or other wine-related fields of study as an option for students.

House Bill 1563 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

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