Jenkin bill aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for the next generation of winemakers passes House

Wine production continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in Washington state. Many colleges and technical schools now offer winemaking as a course of study. A bill authored by Rep. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, aims to allow underage students, under strict supervision of someone over 21 years of age, to taste wine as part of their educational curriculum.

“An important challenge was brought to my attention. There is an inability for most students, age 18-20, to taste wine in the classroom. They’re also not allowed to work in any wine production areas,” said Jenkin. “Anyone in the industry will tell you, tasting wine during production is key to ensuring the science, ingredients and processes are done correctly. 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.”

House Bill 1563 would solve this particular challenge. Under the 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. The permit would expand tasting opportunities to students at their enrolled college or technical school, and during field trips to grape-growing areas or production facilities. Underage students would be required to be accompanied by someone over 21 years of age during the tastings. This permit would also be valid for interns.

“The capability of allowing underage students to participate in the tasting component of wine production is an integral part of their learning experience,” continued Jenkin. “This provides hands-on education as we train the next generation of winemakers to enter the workforce.”

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


Washington State House Republican Communications