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Defending Wine Appreciation
Some American parents are adopting "the southern European custom of offering young children small amounts of wine, hoping to remove the forbidden fruit appeal and teach an appreciation for fine dining." An Associated Press article quotes one parent explaining, "We also know enough about dangers inherent in drinking that we aren't going to give her a full glass of wine. In fact, her wine is often watered-down."

A "sociology professor emeritus...who has studied alcohol for more than 30 years, says giving children small amounts of wine is common elsewhere in the world." A "psychologist and author of ‘Addiction Proof Your Child,’ thinks the United States sends the wrong message by forbidding alcohol until 21. He sees no problem with serving young children small amounts of wine with a meal. ... ‘Let's try to teach kids to drink in a normal setting.’"

An official with the alcohol watchdog group, the Marin Institute, vehemently disagrees with teaching young people to responsibly appreciate wine. An official with the Institute, which supports a broad array of anti-alcohol campaigns, states that using "the southern European custom as a model is a bad choice. ... It doesn't work. Despite what everyone seems to think is an enlightened approach, the problems, especially in Europe, are more than what we have here."

The problem with the Marin Institute’s position is that it is factually incorrect. According to the most recent data from the World Health Organization, the rate of "heavy drinkers" is higher in the US (6.7%) than in southern European countries such as Italy (5.8%), Greece (3.6%) and Spain (2.6%). With respect to youth drinking, the percentage of 15 year old boys who report being drunk at least twice is higher in the US (30.4%) than in Italy (22.8%), Greece (23.4%) or Spain (24.7%).

The path to responsible alcohol consumption is through education, not prohibition.

See Marin Institute website

See WHO Alcohol Study

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