Eric Asimov recently had a very thought provoking article on his NYT’s blog entitled “Should Wine Be a Family Affair?” where he discussed allowing children to have a little wine with food at the family table.
For generations of parents and children growing up in the world’s wine regions this has never been a difficult question. Young children at the family meal have traditionally received a spoon of wine in their water at family meals, a kind of ritualistic bonding exercise that both solidifies their position as part of the group and conveys the idea that wine is a food. Teenagers might get a small glass of their own, cementing the connection between wine, food and family, with the additional benefit of exercising their palates.
While I definitely fall on the side of allowing a small taste to both educate and demystify, there is also this puritanical voice that whispers that I shouldn’t. It is a tough issue that doesn’t have an easy answer. In fact, Asiomov says it very well:
Now, obviously I have a bias. I get a great deal of pleasure out of wine and hope my children will, too. But I’m also a parent and obviously nothing is more important to me than the safety of my kids. I tried to go about this in an objective way, separating fact from fear mongering and feeble thinking. The bottom line is there are no right answers, only what’s right and comfortable for you and your family.
I’d be very interested to hear other people’s experiences and takes on this issue.