Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Underage wine students may benefit from ‘sip and spit’ bill

wine tasting 1w

UC Davis viticulture and enology students gather outside of class for a wine tasting session organized by the student group Vitis. Courtesy photo

By
From page A1 | June 24, 2014 |

Linda Bisson, a professor of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, says that for her students to successfully judge a wine, they need to appraise its color and hue, assess the “nuances of the aroma” and taste the wine for its sweetness or acidity.

But Bisson said students enrolled in UC Davis’ top-ranked winemaking program can earn a degree without ever sampling the alcohol they make for course credit.

That may be changing soon if legislation by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, chairman of the Legislature’s Select Committee on Wine, is approved. Dubbed the “sip and spit” bill, the legislation would allow underage students in wine programs throughout the state to taste, but not ingest, alcohol in their classes.

There are seven schools offering viticulture and enology degrees in California that would be affected by the bill, including UCD, Fresno State and Santa Rosa Junior College — which lies in Chesbro’s coastal 2nd District. With a 12-acre vineyard adjacent to its campus, UCD is the largest program of the seven.

The bill is sponsored by the UC system and supported by the CSU system and the Community College League of California. No opposition against the legislation has been filed.

“Being able to judge the quality of the wine is essential in wine production, and our students really need to start learning those skills early to prepare for their first jobs,” said UCD enology professor Andrew Waterhouse. “It also hurts our students because most of them need to put that class off until their last year although it’s a class they really should be taking earlier.”

Adrian Lopez, director of governmental relations for UCD, said he hopes the bill also will help hasten the pace of graduation, particularly when a growing number of UC students spend more than four years earning their degrees. (Of the 5,000 students entering UCD in 2007, 1,250 took more than four years to graduate.)

“For some students, it can be a time-of-degree issue,” Lopez said. “Some students wait around, taking other classes until they turn 21. It would be better for the students if they could take those classes earlier.”

UCD offers two wine-tasting courses. Although neither of the classes is required for graduation, Bisson said both are very popular among students and are critical to the curriculum. Currently, Bisson teaches a wine-production class — not restricted to students of drinking age — where she lets students smell, but not taste, the wines they make.

“Students smell and can assess the wines visually, but if something needs tasting we’ll usually have a lab manager do it and report back to the class,” Bisson said. “Obviously, the students aren’t very happy with that.”

To supplement the curriculum, some students meet monthly to sample wines outside of the classroom, although this doesn’t benefit students like Connor Bockman, 20, and others who are still underage.

“I know a lot of people who can’t make the meetings because they aren’t of age yet, and it’s really a pity because we really are learning a lot,” said Jean-Sebastien Calvet, a third-year student in UCD’s wine program.

California is far and away the highest wine-producing state in the country, generating more than 87 percent of all wine in the United States, according to figures published by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Waterhouse says UCD students are already “very desirable” among the state’s 8,800 wineries, adding that the Chesbro bill will only make them more employable.

Still, California is late to the game in passing “sip and spit” legislation. Twelve other states already have laws allowing underage wine-production students to sample alcohol in class, which may put students in programs like Oregon State’s ahead of the curve.

“Oregon State has a wine program that does engage more in tasting and food pairing,” Bisson said.

Bisson and Waterhouse said there are no immediate plans to change UCD’s curriculum, although if the bill is passed, Waterhouse would encourage students to take the university’s tasting courses earlier in their college careers.

The Chesbro bill passed unopposed on the Assembly floor earlier this year and is scheduled to be heard in the state Senate committee on governmental organization Tuesday.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Mother pleads not guilty to lesser charges in baby’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Is there a fair way out of this?

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Boots help dogs deal with cold

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    High court hears Obamacare arguments

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

     
    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Author events coming up at The Avid Reader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    No real reason to stay

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Drought stresses California’s trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Initiative carnival coming next year

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Hunting has many benefits

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    This river needs our help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Vernal pools are in danger

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Migratory waterfowl threatened

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Dog in shopping cart concerning

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    San Antonio enjoys home cooking to rout Sacramento

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    DHS sophomore honored for volunteerism

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Arts

     
    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6