Wine has a long history. It was the preferred drink of the Greeks and Romans, and has been in existence for even longer than that. It was a necessity of everyday life, since water was dirty and made people sick. Over time, consuming wine and alcohol in general became more and more of a leisure activity. Nowadays young college students prefer hard liquor or beer over wine, considering it less alcoholic in content and more of an "older" person's drink.
However, this shouldn't be the perception. This should change. To me wine, is a sophisticated drink that needs to be appreciated by taking the time to enrich one's sense with its texture, aroma, and sensations. It teaches you the patience of drinking, and, technically, the art of socializing, but that's a different topic.
In today's media, we often read about kids becoming alcoholics before they are even of legal age. We see news of kids dying from alcohol poisoning, having alcohol-induced blackouts, and so much more. But what if there is very simple solution to all this? How bad would it be if parents taught their children how to drink from an early age? How to appreciate drinking? And what better alcohol to do this with than wine?
Let just think about this logically for a second. Parents are key in bringing about this change. If you as a parent learned the art of wine tasting and passed it on to your kids, I think there would be a positive effect on their relationship to alcohol later on in life. First, the subject of alcohol would be an open issue, with plenty of room for discussion (not that there isn't enough to talk about it as it is). With the issue out there in the open, who knows — maybe your kid will have something to say about it.
Secondly, both of you would share a passion. While reading books on wine tasting, I realized that there is so much that you can talk about. The topics range from which foods go with which wine, the fermentation process, quality, taste (believe me, for this you need an extensive vocabulary), and you can even talk about weather. After all, the weather has a huge effect on the grape harvest. Imagine the conversation as a cup of Frappucino with foam on the top — you are dipping your lips into just the foam, and you have the rest of the cup to go. But the overall effect is that you and your child become closer.
Thirdly, kids love to do things that are forbidden. So when the prohibited becomes accessible, with some control, the fun part doing the forbidden is lessened. Who knows this could become a habit, and in the end, your kids will make safer decisions. Fourthly, as I talked about before, drinking wine takes patience. I believe that when you learn this patience you apply it to all forms of alcohol consumption.
I noticed this in social situations. Beer aficionados first sniff, then taste, comment, sip again, and then spend the rest of the drink discussing it. They take their time. It's not the usual we-need-to-drink-as-much-and-as-fast-to-get-drunk party, where you know there will be that bad drunk who will kill the atmosphere in five seconds flat. Here instead the atmosphere is pleasant, relaxing, with the conversation flowing, everyone is at ease and is having a good time. I would opt for a chill atmosphere rather than a chug-a-thon any day. Lastly, while you drink you eat, and I enjoy eating. Who doesn't?
Naturally to all this there are pitfalls. It’s important to stress to kids that drinking outside the parental control is illegal (until of course 21) and the consequences are severe. According to the CDC website, 23% of drivers between ages 15 to 20 who died in car accidents had blood alcohol content over than the legal limit, which isn’t a laughing matter no matter how you look at it. Besides car deaths, alcohol poisoning is very common and lethal as well.
An article published on the website of The Center of Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University states that Americans who start to drink before the age of 15 become more dependent on alcohol than those who wait till 21. Naturally, this blows my whole theory out of the water, but it does make me wonder what they mean by “start to drink”. Are they referring to a drink-till-you’re-wasted? Or to a glass at dinner here or there? If it’s the latter, I have a hard time believing this statement. I mean I had my first drink when I was 15 as did most of my friends and their friends and so on. Heck, some even drank before that. I remember my aunt giving her 7-year-old kid a sip of beer, and the only effect of that was he grimaced and never touched alcohol again for the duration of time I was with him.
An article by Doctor David J. Hanson entitled “Italian teens frown on binge drinking” supports my theory stating that despite a high alcohol consumption there are fewer alcohol-related problems, a pattern repeated in countries such as Greece, Spain, and places all over the world. Basically, teens are smart about their drinking. For them, alcohol is viewed as neutral and that everyone has two options: abstain from it or drink in moderation and responsibly. Hmm… moderation, now that’s a concept. Lastly, drinking starts early in a safe, supporting environment called home, with parents being role models. Further Dr. Hanson states that teens tend to exclude those that drink to get drunk, cutting them out of their social circle, which is to say pretty extreme.
Pouring your kid glass after glass or you yourself setting a fine example of binge drinking is counterintuitive to the theory. You are the role models, the responsible ones, who learned moderation early on in life, and imparting that wisdom onto your kids might be one of those great lessons they learn from you. So in conclusion, parents drink wine with your children!