A bill that would allow underage winemaking students to taste, but not consume, the alcohol they make during class was signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Dubbed the “sip and spit” bill, the legislation by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro will affect seven schools, including UC Davis, Fresno State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. UCD has the largest viticulture and enology program in the state.
“The faculty and students are thrilled that the governor signed AB 1989,” said UCD enology professor Andrew Waterhouse. “Making good wine and beer requires attention to detail, and that means tasting the product from start to finish to make sure the fermentation and aging are going in the right direction.”
California produces more than 87 percent of all wine in the United States and, beginning Jan. 1, will be the 13th state allowing its winemaking students to sample, but not ingest, the wines they make in their classes.
“This legislation ensures that California college graduates majoring in enology and brewing science will have the same educational opportunities as students in other states,” said Chesbro, who represents Mendocino County and part of Sonoma County. “Currently, 12 states, including our West Coast neighbors Oregon and Washington, already have a similar law on the books.”
The bill was sponsored by the University of California and the California State University systems. It passed on a 73-2 vote in the Assembly and went unopposed in the Senate, 36-0.