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Jun 11, 2014 11:50 PM EDT

California Bill to Allow Underage Winemaking and Brewing Students to Taste Alcohol


Underage students enrolled in winemaking and brewing science programs in California may soon be able to taste the fruits of their labor, Campus Reform reported.

Assembly Bill 1989, which was already passed by the state Assembly, will allow students enrolled in accredited viticulture programs to taste the alcoholic beverages they create despite their age. However, the bill stipulates that students must spit the alcohol out after tasting.

The legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata),  was designed to benefit students who have to wait until they turn 21 years old before taking classes needed for graduation.

Chesbro said the bill does not promote underage drinking.

Adrian Lopez, state governmental relations director at University of California - Davis (UC Davis) told Campus Reform that professors will be tasked with monitoring underage students and handling any problems that could arise.

"This bill is so students can taste the product they're making in order to develop their sensory skills early on and become the best winemakers and the best brewers," Lopez said.

The legislation passed on the assembly floor last month with 73 votes in favor and only two opposing.

Lopez is "cautiously optimistic" that the bill will continue to keep its momentum as it's slated to hit California's senate on June 24, Campus Reform reported.

"We have a lot of limitations in place so folks understand it's not an underage consumption bill," Lopez said. "It's for a small amount of students in a major program."

Students will be monitored by a professor (who must be older than 21 years old) and must be enrolled in an accredited viticulture program at a public university.

Twelve other states, including Oregon and New York, have similar laws in place for winemaking and brewery students. 

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