Finally, reason has prevailed.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law last week legislation allowing college students studying winemaking or related endeavors to taste and spit wine.
This legislation should have been approved years ago so all students, not just those over 21, could enroll in programs at Walla Walla Community College’s Center for Enology and Viticulture.
Myles Anderson, director of the Center, said the college has had to limit enrollment in some of its classes to those who can legally drink. Anderson founded the first wine program in Washington state 13 years ago at WWCC. Students under 21 have wanted to take the courses but could not.
The legislation, Senate Bill 5774, had broad support among lawmakers. It was approved 42-7 in the Senate and 89-4 in the House.
And why not? Allowing those 18 and over to swish wine in their mouths for the purpose of identifying flavors as part of the wine education process is far from drinking the wine. Nobody is going to enroll in a college course for an opportunity to drink alcohol. That would be as stupid as it is expensive.
The law, which takes effect in July, covers education programs dealing with wine, beer and spirits as well as culinary arts programs at community colleges and technical schools.
Walla Walla Community College, its students and the local wine industry have a lot to gain from this law, but it will help the entire state.
Many of the students, even a majority in some two-year colleges, are in the 18 to 20 age range. Because they couldn’t enroll in these classes, many didn’t give much thought to pursing a career in the wine, beer or food industries. That door is now open.
WWCC apparently has a small waiting list of those under 21 who want in when there is an opportunity. It’s likely the number of new students will be more than is currently on that list.